ELLE reviews Belle

An inspiring true story

Looking for an emotional and inspiring cinema experience this weekend?

Belle is a stylish, important and accomplished period drama from BAFTA award winning film writer and director Amma Asante.

The film is based on the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, the illegitimate mixed-race daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral brought up as an aristocratic lady by her great-uncle in 18th Century England.

There’s all the usual intrigue associated with the story of a young woman in Georgian society expected to make a 'good match’ in order to secure her future (Jane Austen fans, form an orderly queue) but the great poignancy in this instance derives from the romantic drama’s backdrop - a controversial slavery case and the social prejudice rife in England at the time.

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Gugu Mbatha-Raw gives a strong performance as Belle and Canadian actress Sarah Gadon is impressive as Belle’s fragile, wide-eyed cousin Elizabeth. Both, certainly, women to watch.

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