Belle

Posted on June 14, 2014

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Belle – In 1796, Sir Admiral John Lindsay (Matthew Goode) leaves his exceedingly beautiful young daughter to be raised by her great uncle and aunt, Lord (Tom Wilkinson) and Lady (Penelope Wilton) Mansfield. Called Dido (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), the family loves her and she is treated by her cousin, Elizabeth, like a sister. She receives the same education and most of the benefits and privileges Elizabeth receives. Dining with the family and guests, however, is not one of them. Reason being she’s illegitimate and black. Mainly, it’s ‘cause she’s black.

The Lord Chief Justice is involved in a trial deciding whether or not the jettisoning of human cargo who are diseased, therefore worthless as slaves, is legal. Once Belle realizes what’s at stake, she joins forces with a young aspiring lawyer, John Davinier (Sam Reid). It’s based on a true story and a portrait of Belle and Elizabeth is thought to be one of the first to depict a black person as an equal with a white aristocrat.

The clothes, the shoes, the hats are worthy of Downton Abbey. A number of good British actors – Emily Watson, Penelope Wilton, James Norton.

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