Film: Belle

Opened: May 2, 2014

Directed by: Amma Asante

Starring: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Tom Wilkinson, Sam Reid, Emily Watson, Sarah Gadon, Miranda Richardson, Penelope Wilton, Tom Felton, James Norton, Matthew Goode & Alex Jennings

A stunning look at racism in the late 1700s amongst a woman of higher status and what she saw happening to the less fortunate around her, Belle is a beautifully acted and directed film.

Dido Elizabeth Belle (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) is an illegitimate mixed-race woman growing up in England after her late father (Matthew Goode) left her a considerable inheritance. Despite her status, her uncle William Murray (Tom Wilkinson) is hesitant to present her to society as he serves as Lord Chief Justice.

This film takes an important look at race, class and gender. The intertwined plot of the Zong case and treatment of slaves as cargo allows Dido to use her position and situation to call for action.

Mbatha-Raw expertly portrays Dido. The way she handles Dido’s confusion is so expressive.

Final say: Unknown history at its finest. ★★★★★

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