August 14, 2014

Belle (2013)

Belle (2013) - Movie Review
Directed by: Amma Asante
Country: UK

Movie Review: “Belle”, written by Misan Sagay, is the sophomore feature film from the Londoner Amma Asante, former TV series’ actress. The story is set in 18th Century England, a colonial empire and slave trading capital, where the illegitimate mixed-race young girl, Dido Elizabeth Belle (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), born in the West Indies, is entrusted by her father, Admiral John Lindsay (Matthew Goode), to his aristocratic uncle, Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson) and his wife (Emily Watson). In times of great prejudice against black people and mulattos, Dido will be raised properly but her lineage falls in a social condition that prevents her to have all the privileges as any white woman. She’s too high to be with the servants but too low be with certain members of the family. These restrictions get her disgusted and concerned about love and marriage, despite the big inheritance left by her beloved father. Dido will find the love of her life, John Davinier (Sam Reid), a vicar’s son whose conviction is to fight for equality, but eventually ends up engaged with Oliver Ashford, brother of her cousin Elizabeth’s fiancĂ©, the vile James. In parallel, we follow a polemic slavery case, which is in the hands of Mansfield, the Lord Chief Justice. Dramatically compelling, “Belle” turned out to be a gentle period drama that triggers some indignation, most of the times inherent in several situations and scarcely bursting out. Its cadenced pace flows smoothly with graciousness, enhanced by the splendorous settings and elegant costumes. The only mishap has to do with Mr. Davinier who looked and sounded too dramatic in his interventions.

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