2014, Cert 12A 1h 41m
Directed by: Amma Asante
Cast: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Tom Wilkinson, Emily Watson, Sarah Gordon, Tom Felton, Matthew Goode, Miranda Richardson, Alex Jennings, Penelope Wilton
Film £6. Doors and bar open 7:00pm, Film 7:30, Supper £6 9:30pm
Latest bookings 1200 noon Sunday 9th November – pay at the door.
Bookings: email@example.com or phone: Lucy Matthews 01725 518695
This inextricable intertwining of love and justice, private and public, personal and political, is BELLE’s great cri de coeur and its structural brilliance, as costume and courtroom drama, will move and excite you, and as a love story it will enchant you.
Set in Jane Austen land at the turn of the eighteenth century, the film is inspired by the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle (the extraordinary and very talented young British actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw), the illegitimate mixed race daughter of a Royal Navy Captain. Raised by her aristocratic great-uncle Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson) and his wife (Emily Watson), Belle’s lineage affords her certain privileges, yet the colour of her skin prevents her from fully participating in the traditions of her social standing. Left to wonder if she will ever find love, 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.
Among other delights from the distinguished British cast, it is good to see Penelope Wilton freed from playing Maggie Smith’s stooge in Downton Abbey. The dashing Matthew Goode plays the wicked Captain Lindsay, and newcomers James Norton (Granchester, Happy Valley) and Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy in Harry Potter) are very impressive; the love interest (because this is also a love story) is supplied by exciting Australian actor Sam Reid.
Here is a film to excite all the senses with sumptuous sets and costumes. It is a true story, and a part of our history that is often forgotten. John Crome