Belle is film based on the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, a young mixed woman in Europe during the 1700's. She is taken in by her white father after her mother passes away. Her father is always away and she is raised by her great uncle, along with her cousin. The films follows Belle as she is a young adult during the time that she would be married off and difficulties she faces being Black in a white, racist society.
This film beautifully and seamlessly tells a romantic, political, and historical story without too much emphasis on either aspect. Belle is an heiress who eventually falls in love with a poor man, and her great uncle was the lord chief justice during a time of slavery where slaves were terribly mistreated and the case is just one of the main conflicts throughout the film. Belle is not your average princess movie.
I saw this film the day after it's premiere at Sunshine cinema, it was followed by a Q&A with the star of the film, Gugu Mbatha-Raw. Gugu answered several questions about the film, including my own. I asked about her knowledge of Dido pre-production. She said that she was not originally aware of her story but she did receive a photograph of the famous painting of Dido and her cousin Elizabeth, and needed to find out more. Gugu did her research to learn more, post-production she managed to see the painting at the Scone Palace in Perth, Scotland. She learned that Dido now has descendants who live in Africa, which was interesting because Gugu is half South African.
Belle is a wonderful film, directed by Amma Asante, which I highly recommend.