Belle is inspired by the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, the mixed-race daughter of an aristocratic navy officer. She was also the great-niece of Lord Chief Justice Mansfield, who paved the way for the abolishment of slavery in Britain and the British Empire when he ruled on two cases.
Even though Belle is told against the backdrop of the abolitionist movement in England and the petty dramas of the aristocratic elites, it succeeds in being a well-told love story. Directed by Amma Asante, the film is rooted by the strong performance of Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Belle. Her committed performance gives plausibility to the historical theories that she influenced her great-uncle’s decisions in the slavery cases he ruled on.
Belle is now playing in New York and available on digital HD August 12.
(Edited on July 5, 2014, at 5:31 pm to update info on where and when to see the film.)