OK, I‘ve got to see this picture. That was my thought after seeing the preview of the movie Belle. Belle is a film based on the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle Lindsay. If you do not know her story as of yet, please take time to look it up and then go see this movie while you can – in that order.
It makes a strong and beautiful statement about women, race, class, and of course, the power of love. I will tell you briefly that Dido Elizabeth Belle was a mixed-race lady born into aristocracy. That was the fact that made me pause at first. The second was the fact that it was written and directed by black women: Misan Sagay and Amma Asante. Yep. You heard right.
According to Ms. Sagay’s own account, it was a monumental feat to complete – from paper to film. But the results were well worth it. The cinematography was sumptuous and the style was Jane Austenesque down to the costumes, hair, set, and sprawling castles. And lastly, the actors were a complement to all of the above. Veteran actors such as Tom Wilkinson (Lord Mansfield, Belle’s uncle) and Emily Watson (Lady Mansfield, Belle’s aunt) add layers to each scene and drove the play onward and upward. And my favorite scene? When a passionate, young lawyer name John Davinier (played by a talented Sebastian Reid) fought for his love, Belle (played by the equally talented Gugu Mbatha-Raw), and stood up against Belle’s formidable uncle.
Like I said, I’m giving nothing away. It is your responsibility as the reader to discover and read the true story of such a remarkable account and then see the movie that was inspired by it. As you would expect, dramatic license was taken with the latter, but that fact neither diminishes the compelling value of the former.