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Belle 2014 PG CC

(1,007) IMDb 7.4/10
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Tom Wilkinson, Emily Watson and newcomer Gugu Mbatha-Raw star in this poignant drama inspired by a true story about a mixed-race woman who seeks love and justice amidst racism.

Matthew Goode, Lauren Julien-Box
1 hour, 44 minutes

Available to watch on supported devices.

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Romance
Director Amma Asante
Starring Matthew Goode, Lauren Julien-Box
Supporting actors Natasha Williams, Alan McKenna, Penelope Wilton, Cara Jenkins, Emily Watson, Tom Wilkinson, Sarah Gadon, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Miranda Richardson, James Norton, Tom Felton, Timothy Walker, Sam Reid, David Gant, Charlotte Roach, Rupert Wickham, Bethan Mary-James, Alana Ramsey
Studio Fox Searchlight
MPAA rating PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

174 of 180 people found the following review helpful By R. M. Fisher TOP 500 REVIEWER on June 13, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant Video
Belle is based on the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, the illegitimate daughter of Admiral John Lindsay and an enslaved African woman.

As a child she was sent to live with her father's uncle William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield, who raised her as a free young gentlewoman at Kenwood House. That same Lord Mansfield, in his capacity as Lord Chief Justice, was later called on to rule in the case of the Zong Massacre, a controversial court case that followed the deaths of approximately 142 enslaved Africans on board the slave ship Zong in 1781. The owners of the ship went on to make a claim to their insurers for the loss of the slaves, one that was refused on claims that the slaves (many of which were diseased) were deliberately murdered after being deemed worth more dead than alive.

This is the backdrop of Dido's story, one that provides the film's climax and is very much linked to her journey to find a place in the world. As such, there are two main (though interconnected) threads running throughout the film: that of Gugu Mabatha-Raw's eponymous Dido Belle negotiating high society, and the court proceedings surrounding Lord Mansfield's ruling on the Zong trial.

Toward the end of the film the focus is just as much on Lord Mansfield's moral crisis regarding the Zong Massacre as it is on Dido's awareness of her quasi-privilege and growing sense of identity. But the greater part of the film remains with Dido, her love story with her uncle's student John Davinier, her relationship with her cousin Elizabeth, and her struggle to find a place in society.

Since the film was inspired by the 1779 portrait of Dido and Elizabeth, they are very much the focal point of the movie.
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73 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Steve on June 29, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant Video
Even if some of the details are changed for the sake of the drama, and others made up for lack of information, this is how the story (based on real people and events) should have happened. Other reviewers have compared Belle to Jane Austen films, but it resembles them only in the flawless portrayal of social class and manners of the period. None of Austen's novels, however, hinge on greater events than the lives and affairs of the main characters; whereas Belle's life and identity are shown as closely bound to the fate of slavery and British attitudes to it.
All of the performances are excellent, with nobody over-acting or stealing scenes. The performance of the lead is especially moving. The costumes and sets are appropriately lush, and the cinematography unobtrusively draws you into the story. One very minor historical detail (since otherwise I'd have nothing to criticize): Belle's suitor, Ashford, tells her that his father has purchased a captain's commission in the navy for him. British navy commissions (unlike army commissions) were not sold. A British army officer could depend on soldiers being drilled in highly standardized procedures enforced by the noncoms. A British naval officer had to be competent in all the complex details of handling a sailing ship. So the only way to become one was to serve as a midshipman for years, then pass the very rigorous oral examination for lieutenant given by a panel of veteran naval captains.
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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Rosa Enflorecida on December 25, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
Biracial racism. When I speak Spanish people are surprised. My Latino friends tell me I look "white". Yet I have even been the butt of racist comments from the white family into which I married. With time I found they really were an ignorant bunch. Knowledge is power and this movie offers an opportunity to learn about racism at a pivotal point in history through the eyes of a mulatto girl.

The central problem is a law allowing merchant ships to dispose of cargo if it is necessary for the crew's survival. The lost cargo is then expected to be covered by insurance. What if the "cargo" is human? What if the judge trying such a case for fraud has a daughter who could have been this very same cargo but for her social position?

"Mulatto" was a word spoken in whispers when I was little. It means a child born of black and white parents. As a mulatto child, Belle lives a high life because of her family and personal fortune yet she is restricted in society. Her family is put in the precarious position of wanting her to live life realistically while not wanting her demeaned in any way. They provide a protected environment until she begins to question their values and seeks information for herself regarding the treatment of African slaves. A perfect time to quote, "But for the grace of God go I".

Love has no color. These historical figures proved this long ago when they commissioned a painting of a portrait with Belle and her cousin with whom she grew up. It is still displayed in one of Belle's family's castles. It was the inspiration for this movie. Now it has become my inspiration.
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Format: Amazon Instant Video
Directed by Amma Asante (A Way of Life) from a screenplay by Misan Sagay, Belle is a beautifully rendered historical romance, reminiscent of many Jane Austen romances of the period. The performances are first class, the cinematography and costumes are lush and detailed, the flow of the story well-paced and balanced between its romantic and historical elements, and the music adds wonderfully to the feel of the film. But that said, this is a film that should be considered more of an imaginative - and highly embellished - story than an accurate recounting of actual historical events.

The film begins with a young British naval officer, Captain Sir John Lindsay (Matthew Goode), in Jamaica, apparently meeting a very young girl for the first time: his mixed-race daughter by an African woman with whom he'd had an affair. In short order he tells the girl that he's taking her to "the life you were born to have", which we quickly learn means taking her to England to be raised by his uncle and aunt, Lord and Lady Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson and Emily Watson), high-ranking members of the British aristocracy who have no children of their own but who are already raising another grand-niece of similar age named Elizabeth. The Mansfield's take the girl - whose full name is Dido Elizabeth Belle - into their home, opting to call her Dido since they already have an Elizabeth, raising the two cousins almost as if they were sisters. Almost, but not quite, as becomes apparent in the film that having a mixed-race member of the family presented certain social difficulties in Georgian English aristocratic society.
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