Rated PG 103 minutes 2014

A good bit of summer counterprogramming, Belle is equal parts historical fiction, sweeping romance, and firm indictment of racist attitudes in Georgian England. In the wake of recent shameful racially tinged dialogue from NBA owners and law-ignoring ranchers, Belle shows us how far we still have to go just to treat people as equals on the basis that we actually are. Dido Elizabeth Belle was the illegitimate daughter of an English aristocrat, raised by her uncle, the Earl of Mansfield. His highness also happened to be the chief justice of the British courts and presided over the landmark Zong Massacre case, which sent tidal waves through the pro-slavery and abolitionist movements. But the takeaway from Belle is Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who is fierce throughout the film as a woman fighting for a place and a voice only because of the color of her skin.

Film Credits

Official Site:

Director: Amma Asante

Writer: Amma Asante and Misan Sagay

Producer: Damian Jones, Steve Christian, Julie Goldstein, Steve Norris, Phil Hunt, Compton Ross and Christopher Collins

Cast: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Tom Wilkinson, Sam Reid, Sarah Gadon, Miranda Richardson, Penelope Wilton, Emily Watson, Tom Felton, James Norton and Matthew Goode



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