Belle

 

Year: 2013
Country: UNITED KINGDOM
Run Time: 105 minutes

Eighteenth century English propriety meets the horrors of the slave trade in BELLE, inspired by a true story. Dido Elizabeth Belle, daughter of a Royal Navy officer and an enslaved African woman, is taken to be raised by her father’s uncle, the Chief Justice of England. Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson) and his fussy wife (Emily Watson) are already raising Dido’s cousin, Lady Elizabeth. Though Belle’s aristocratic lineage affords her privileges, the color of her skin renders her unable to function as a full member of society. Belle finds a suitor in an idealistic young vicar’s son considered her social inferior. Now an important case comes before Lord Mansfield—the Zong massacre—in which Africans are thrown from a slave ship and drowned, allowing its owners to claim insurance for their damaged “cargo.” Lord Mansfield, with the support of his beloved grand-niece, must make a decision with far-reaching implications for the treatment of blacks. Gugu Mbatha Raw is dignified and restrained as Belle. —B.B.

Director
Amma Asante

Producer
Damian Jones

Screenwriting
Misan Sagay

Cinematography
Ben Smithard

Editing
Pia Di Ciaula, Victoria Boydell

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

Director Bio
Amma Asante is a British writer and director. She started her career as a child actress, appearing as a regular in the British school drama Grange Hill. In her late teens, she made the move to screenwriting.

Select Filmography
"A Way of Life" (2004), BELLE (2013)

Print Source

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