This past weekend I went to see “Belle” and it exceeded all of my cinema expectations. I think it has something for everyone in it. Check out my top 10 reasons why you need to see this movie right now! At face value, period pieces may seem boring to some, but this film is far from boring. There may be some **SPOILERS** read with caution, or not 🙂
1. It’s based on a true story and painting.
Dido Elizabeth Belle was the mulatto child of a naval officer and a slave. She was sent to live with her uncle, a Chief Justice who made a number of landmark rulings on slavery that were among Britain’s first steps towards abolition. She was raised with her cousin Elizabeth, and they were treated as sisters. The above picture is significant because the women are at eye level and Dido is face-forward. Dido was wealthy, raised as an aristocrat, and went to the best schools. Although there is little information about Dido personally, the film created a intriguing and graceful character.
2. It’s a love story ❤
Who doesn’t enjoy a good love story? I’m a hopeless romantic, so during the whole film (especially the scenes between Dido and John Divinier) I was wiping my eyes and swooning at the couple. During the era the film is set in, women were courted and often times matched with a person of equal status, regardless if they loved them or not. In the film, Dido and Elizabeth talk about how women are no more than property to their husbands, regardless if they are worth more. In Dido’s case, she was written off as not eligible to be married because of her skin color, and she was too high in status to marry beneath. Belle even makes a comment along the lines of “it’s silly for me to want marriage when I have already been freed twice, once from slavery and now from marriage”. Go see the film to watch her love story unfold. I promise it is all about true love and all that other good stuff.
3. Dido learns to embrace her skin color and her CURLS!
Naturally, Dido Belle had some trouble accepting her skin color and how it affected her family life. Although her family accepted her, she not even allowed to sit with them at dinner when guests were at the house. I completely lost my cool in one scene where Dido In one chilling scene, Dido tries to rub her skin off.
Throughout the film we see Dido develop. We see her defend her mother and her skin color. When her uncle is working on an insurance case for a slave ship that drowned over 100 slaves, she feels more connected to her mother and her lineage. She steals, breaks rules, and openly defies her uncle in order to help fight against the ship owners. Lots of conversation surround people not being property and the beginning of slavery being abolished. My absolute favorite part is when Dido confronts someone for “forgiving her black skin, and her mother’s bloodline”. She begins to feel proud of her mother.
Another one of my favorite scenes. Dido girl, all naturals feel your pain and have been there!
4. Draco Malfoy is in it being Draco Malfoy
Tom Felton needs to play another character, or maybe not because he Draco Malfoys so well. He is as evil, hateful, sexist, and spiteful as he is in Harry Potter movies, maybe worse. Dido handles him who grace and poise. Despite his prickly character, the big HP fan in me loves seeing Draco back on the screen.
Now, I’m not particularly a fan of ruffles and lace, but the costumes in this movie almost gave me a change of heart. My absolute favorite was this hooded coated thing (a few pictures up). I would rock the heck out of one of those this fall. I can’t find a front on picture, so I guess you have to go to the movies and see for yourself.
6. The language is so powerful and eloquent.
I think I found a new way to tell people off…or flirt…or both.
7. The writer and director are black women.
Amma Ansante and Misan Sagay are the brains behind the film. Amma Asante’s role is significant because there are so few black female directors. Let’s hope this creates a shift in the Academy Awards. Check them out discussing the origins of the film.
8. Gugu Mbatha-Raw is a phenomenal actress.
Gugu carried this film with grace. She did an awesome job keeping me engaged and interested. I had never heard of her before Belle, but I know now to be on the lookout. Plus, she is absolutely gorgeous and her curls are beautiful.
9. Her relationship with her sister cousin Elizabeth is real and complex.
If are a female and have a sister, cousin, best friend, soror, etc., you know the complexities of those relationships. One day you love them, the next they can get on your nerves. We see those highs and lows with Dido and Elizabeth.
Go see the movie and find my number 10!