The pressures of fame have superstar singer Noni on the edge, until she meets Kaz, a young cop who works to help her find the courage to develop her own voice and break free to become the artist she was meant to be.
In Victorian England, the independent and headstrong Bathsheba Everdene attracts three very different suitors: Gabriel Oak, a sheep farmer; Frank Troy, a reckless Sergeant; and William Boldwood, a prosperous and mature bachelor.
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 Zong massacre case, known officially as Gregson v. Gilbert (1783), was not the landmark, pro-abolition decision the film portrayed it to be. It avoided the issue of slavery altogether, and never actually reached a final decision. Lord Chief Justice William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield, called for another trial which never came to court. It is assumed that the matter was settled privately. Lord Mansfield presided over an earlier case that became very important to the abolitionist movement. In Somerset v. Stewart (1772), Lord Mansfield concluded that slavery could only be legal through statute, and since such statute did not exist, there was no legal basis for slavery in England and Wales. The film steals a line from Somerset v. Stewart and uses it in Gregson v. Gilbert to use the wider implications of Somerset v. Stewart for dramatic effect. In the film, Lord Mansfield's judgment shows that there was enough evidence to suggest that the slavers committed fraud, and that Lord Mansfield personally disliked the idea of slavery. He says nothing about the legality of slavery in England and Wales, or the legality of insuring humans as cargo. 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 was so excited when I found a little indie theater 40 minutes away was airing Belle. I already knew I wanted to see this film by virtue of it being a historical drama/romance that put a biracial woman front and center. I love period films, but as a genre they are sorely lacking representation of POC characters. I walked out of the theater stunned at this passionate story of love, justice, acceptance, and society. It's slow-burning, to be sure. I was getting worried the first half hour. It seemed like this would be a black and white (no pun intended) morality play of good, open-hearted people pitted against evil racists. It's true that some characters fall plainly on one side or another, but as the movie goes on, the roles start to become blurred. It becomes a story of people who are caught between the clear-cut lines society has placed. If you can find a theater playing Belle, go see it as soon as possible. Films like this deserve all the attention they can get.
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