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 court scenes where Lord Chief Justice Mansfield delivers his judgment on the "Dead Cargo" case were directed by Amma Asante on the day after her father died. See more »
The character Oliver Ashford states he has a commission in the Royal Navy purchased for him. Impossible as commissions have never been sold in the RN, which at the time was the nearest thing to a meritocracy the world had seen. Grease a few palms to get him in as a midshipman? Maybe. As a captain, never. Fleet boards had to be sat, idiots weeded out.
Commissions could be bought and sold in the cavalry and infantry but not, for instance, in the Royal Engineers. Soldiers could be lost to incompetence but not ships or bridges. Far too valuable. 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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