Blu-ray Belle [Blu-ray] [024543928102] (Blu-ray 17328228),
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Belle [Blu-ray] [024543928102]

  • PG
  • Blu-ray
  • 1 disc
  • Region 1 USA/CA (info)
  • Set in 18th century England and based on a real story, Amma Asante's BELLE stars relative Gugu Mbatha-Raw as the title character - full name, Dido Elizabeth Belle. She is the illegitimate, mixed-race daughter of British Admiral Sir John Lindsay and a black woman he had an affair with while serving overseas. Lindsay brings her to his uncle Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson) who along with his wife Lady Mansfield (mily Watson) are already raising Elizabeth (Sarah Gadon), another niece the same age as Dido. Though Lady Mansfield fears scandal having a dark-skinned child as part of the home, Dido's father reminds them that his daughter does have the right to live there because of her lineage, and Lord Mansfield, a Lord Chief Justice of Britain, agrees. Belle and Elizabeth quickly become best friends, and when they come of age each begins courting suitors. Elizabeth is pursued by James Ashford (Tom Felton), a smarmy and racist manipulator who wants to marry her in order to please his equally conniving mother (Miranda Richardson) by increasing his own family's wealth and standing, while Dido proves alluring to James' brother Oliver (James Norton). However Dido's deepest affections are for John Davinier (Sam Reid), an idealistic young lawyer who is trying to sway Lord Mansfield on a crucial case before the high court that will have profound implications for Britain's slave trade.
  • Credits
    Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Tom Wilkinson, Emily Watson, Matthew Goode, Sarah Gadon
  • Critic Reviews
    "The pleasures of Jane Austen and the horrors of the British slave trade make a surprisingly elegant fit in Amma Asante's handsome period piece."

    "BELLE has a great deal of conviction and is cut from the same emotional cloth as the groundbreaking 12 YEARS A SLAVE."
    Los Angeles Times

    "BELLE subtly skewers the absurd rules and hypocrisies of class. But the real takeaway is Mbatha-Raw." -- Grade: B+
    Entertainment Weekly

    "[A] period film at once sweeping and intimate, about an 18th-century Englishwoman who transcends her historical moment."
    New York Times

    "The movie is intelligently written and well-acted..."

    "[W]riter-director Amma Asante has created a complex tale of race, gender, and love that has very clear present-day resonance."
    Film Comment

    4 stars out of 5 -- "As Belle, Gugu Mbatha-Raw gives a luminous performance, aided by a script that creates a powerful tension between the formality of the language and the passion of the sentiments."
    Total Film

    3 stars out of 5 -- "[A] handsome historical drama inspired by the life of Dido Elizabeth Belle..."

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