Belle

  • Directed by Amma Asante
  • United Kingdom, 2013, 105 mins., English

Often missing from the gorgeous settings, romances, and sophisticated language of English period dramas is the institution at the foundation of that refined life: slavery. Raised by her aristocratic great-uncle Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson) and his wife (Emily Watson), Belle’s (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) lineage—the illegitimate, biracial daughter of a Royal Navy admiral in 18th-century Britain—affords her wealth and certain privileges, but the color of her skin keeps her on the outside looking in. Left to wonder if she will ever find love or acceptance, Belle falls for an idealistic young vicar’s son bent on change who, with her help, shapes Lord Mansfield’s role as Lord Chief Justice to end slavery in England—and end her question, “How may I be too high in rank to dine with the servants but too low to dine with my family?”

Genres: Historical, Romance