BELLE is inspired by the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), the illegitimate mixed race daughter of a Royal Navy Captain. Raised by her aristocratic great-uncle Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson) and his wife (Emily Watson), Belle's lineage affords her certain privileges, yet the color of her skin prevents her from fully participating in the traditions of her social standing. Left to wonder if she will ever find love, Belle falls for an idealistic young vicar's son bent on change who, with her help, shapes Lord Mansfield's role as Lord Chief Justice to end slavery in England.Written by
Fox Searchlight Pictures
The credits cite David Gant as playing Johan Zoffany in the role of the artist who paints the famous portrait of Dido and Elizabeth, but many art experts now believe the work is by David Martin in the style of Zoffany. In 2017, the painting was owned by the Mansfield family and on view at their home, Scone Palace in Perth, Scotland. See more »
When Elizabeth and Dido play the piano, it sounds like a large modern piano, not the small 18th-century piano onscreen. Its keys look very old, even though pianos had existed for a few decades, and had just become popular. Most pianos in use at the time would have been fairly new. See more »
Captain Sir John Lindsay:
How lovely she is. So much of her mother. Do not be afraid. I am here to take you to a good life. A life that you were born to. Here.
[offers a candy]
[tries it with curiosity]
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I'm a film lover who's encouraged to see a story that reveals a piece of the history so often ignored. "Belle" is based on a true story. Since the history of slavery is not taught, films that deal with it - when done well - can be not only entertaining but also instructive. We need these stories! "Belle" is surprising, a piece in the grand puzzle of the history of the slave trade and its impact on the lives of all manner of people. Tom Wilkinson is as always wonderful... The other actors are all just fine. Gugu is lovely as Dido. The hypocrisy of the British upper class is on full display. The Zong Slave ship case is threaded through this film and opens another door on the horrors of the slave trade. That case alone deserves its own film but it would probably be too horrible to watch! I was reminded of all the pained experiences black children endured as they attempted to integrate public schools. The insults and denigration, the racist assumptions hurled at these students were nightmarish. Being the only black person in a sea of whites to this day can be challenging. "Belle" allows us to see and to imagine what that was like in England in the late 1700's. "Belle" was a blood relative and still she could not sit at the dinner table if guests were dining. There's much to learn here, much to think about.
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