Film review – Belle (12A)

“What is right, can never be impossible!”

Set in Britain 1769, when the slave trade was still very active ‘Belle’ is inspired by the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle who was the mixed race illegitimate daughter of a navy admiral.  When the admiral learns his daughter is an orphan, he takes her to his uncle and begs that he raise her with all of the privileges that any child of his should receive.  His uncle is reluctant, but agrees to do, so as she will make a good companion for the other niece in his guardianship.

The film tells the story of Belle’s journey into adulthood and the discrimination she faces.  We also see the dilemmas her great uncle faces.  He wants to do right by Belle,while also maintaining his respected status as a high court judge in a world where coloured people are not seen as equal.

I did not know what to expect from this film, but thought at the very least they would be some beautiful costumes! There certainly is, but the film delivers a whole lot more than the pretty dresses.

The tone of the film is perfect, it does an excellent job of conveying the mood of the time and what it was like for Belle, without being patronising.  There is a very strong cast and the performances by Gugu Mbatha-Raw (who plays Belle) and Tom Wilkinson (who plays her guardian Lord Mansfield), are outstanding.

It is not easy to do a true story justice in film, this time everything is right.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and definitely recommend it.  It’s been a while since I enjoyed a film so much!

See it if you liked: Pride and Prejudice, 12 Years a Slave

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