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 »
During Mansfield's conversation, an electric candlestick is visible on the wall. 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 saw this film at the San Francisco International Film Festival. I don't usually see two films in one day and was tired after already seeing another film, but Belle woke me up. I really enjoyed it.
This film would have been OK as a total fiction but given that it was based on a true story, I found it fascinating. Set in England in the late 1700's, it shows the impact of the slave trade on society. The patriarch of the family is a justice of the High Court of England and takes on an important case regarding a slave trading ship while confronting the reality of limitations faced by his mulatto niece. It shows that when someone becomes part of your family, and you love that person, it changes your perspective on cultural norms. This film has prompted me to look into the history of the actual legal case involved.
The film also showed the similarities between his white and mulatto nieces: as women both had a price on their heads and suffered due to their "place" in that society beneath men... This film showed that while much has changed, many attitudes have not changed in 300 years... The two brothers who court the nieces could have come from any current film if they just updated their styles of clothes, hair, and accents.
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