Monday, October 26, 2015

Belle ~ Review

             I am very excited to share this with you today, dearest readers…

I have wanted to write a review on this incredibly beautiful film for such a long time…


I love period dramas, especially those relating to British history…

However, as some of you may know, finding a clean film with good morals and values can be very difficult.


But oh!  Belle is a gorgeous story and a movie I would highly recommend.


I was utterly entranced by this stunning movie; it captured my interest from the very beginning, and I was drawn into the story through the heavenly music, composed by Rachel Portman, the extraordinary costumes and superb acting...


I would love to share my thoughts on this beautiful film with you…  I am always thrilled to discover good films like this one, and feel certain you will love it too.


I will just add that we didn’t show this movie to the younger girls, as the story is a little too far above them and explores the issue of slavery, which could be quite disturbing to the young viewer...  I would personally recommend it for ages 12 and up…

And as with many period dramas, there is unfortunately a lot of cleavage shown. 


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This is a film is based on the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle Lindsay, who was the illegitimate daughter of an enslaved African woman and Captain Sir John Lindsay, a British Naval officer.

After her mother died, she was taken by her father and placed in the care of her uncle and aunt, Lord and Lady Mansfield, at Kenwood House, an estate in Hampstead.  Lord Mansfield was said to have been the most powerful man in England, besides the king.

Dido was raised as their daughter and brought up as a true gentlewoman.


After her father’s death, she inherited a substantial fortune, which meant she wouldn’t have to marry beneath her station in order to secure a living, as Lord and Lady Mansfield believed no gentleman would wish to marry a woman of colour…

It was her cousin, Elizabeth Murray, who had to find a suitable husband of great fortune as she was left penniless once her father remarried…


Sarah Gaden is Elizabeth Murray, Dido’s cousin, who too is under the guardianship of Lord and Lady Mansfield.


A young man named John Davinier, son of the local vicar, was an aspiring lawyer and an apprentice to the earl during the case of the Zong ship, which involved the insurance payment for slaves thrown overboard of the ship carrying them.

The ship’s company claimed to have been low on water, and thus the slaves were disposed of as if they were nothing but worthless cargo…

Davinier took a keen interest in this case, and after speaking to Dido about it and informing her of all that he knew, he was dispelled from the house and told never to speak with Dido again…


Tom Wilkinson plays the role of Dido’s uncle, Lord William Mansfield to absolute perfection.

He was the Lord Chief Justice of England at that time, and was presented with the case of the Zong ship from the lower court…  He was one of the most powerful men in England, and his decision could bring an end to the horrific slave trade…

He wanted to shelter Dido from the case he was judging to protect her and

wanted her to be happy and find her place within society without compromising on an undesirable marriage…

As the story unfolds, one comes to appreciate this great man for who he truly is


“What is right – can never be impossible…”  Captain Sir John Lindsay to William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield

Emily Watson is delightful in her role as Lady Elizabeth Mansfield, Dido’s aunt…

I love her quiet and gentle nature and how dearly she loves her nieces, respects her husband

and fills a needful place within their hearts and lives…

I really enjoyed Emily Watson in her role in War Horse and Miss Potter…and she was simply superb in Belle

  

  Sam Reid plays John Davinier.  To say that I loved his character would be an understatement!

John Davinier was the son of the local clergyman, and an aspiring lawyer, under the tutelage of Lord Mansfield during the case of the Zong massacre…  He is honest and true and not afraid to stand up for what he believes to be right...


"Yes!  I love her with every breath I breathe!"  John to Lord Mansfield


Gugu Mbatha-Raw is the beautiful Dido Belle, the lady whom this story is all about…

She is not just a fictional character, but a woman who lived and influenced society…

Dido is a passionate young woman, and is not afraid to stand up for what she believes. 

I will let you find out more about lovely Dido…I know you will love her as dearly as I do!




Penelope Wilton as Aunt Mary…

You may recognise her from Wives and Daughters or Pride and Prejudice (2005).

She too loved Dido and sympathised with her, especially when Dido admitted she loved a man of neither fortune nor rank.
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One of the many reasons I love this film so much, is the beautiful story it portrays.

Doing the right thing is never easy, but it is good, and in this case, powerful too…

It is not romantic in a sense that it is all the film is about – there is more to it than just a man and a woman of different stations learning what love is truly worth.

It is about coming out of a society that controlled how a person lived, whom they married, and what they did and standing up for what is correct.


 About the Painting…  {Source}

The 1779 painting, once thought to be by Johann Zoffany, is now attributed to an unknown artist. The painting hung in Kenwood House until 1922 and now hangs at Scone Palace in Perthshire, Scotland. It was one of the first European portraits to portray a black subject on an equal eye-line with a white aristocrat, though distinctions are implied by the poses, as Elizabeth's "formality and bookishness are contrasted with the wild and exotically turbanned 'natural' figure of Belle."


The painting is replicated in the film with the faces of the actresses portraying the characters replacing those in the original. Dido's finger-to-cheek gesture is absent in the fictionalised version. The original picture is shown on screen at the end of the film.


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Dear friends, I know you will be as delighted with this wonderful period drama as I was!


Blessings to you!
    
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Valid till 15 November.

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Source:  Wikipedia

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6 comments:

Sylvia Cannon said...

Hi Kelly-Anne, this sounds like a very good movie. I don't go to the movies often.
I am no longer blogging due to circumstances in my life right now, but will try to visit you by way of google plus.

JES said...

This sounds right up my alley! I looked it up at Amazon and so far only the UK version is out. Hopefully the USA version will be available on DVD. Thank you for sharing this with us! SO hard to find clean, period dramas!

SpicingUpIdaho said...

This sounds like a wonderful movie! I have never heard of it before, and as JES mentioned, it may not be available here yet. I seldom watch movies, although my daughter loves to watch Pride and Prejudice, so I think this is something she would enjoy. Your review was excellent!

Paige said...

This sounds like an interesting movie! I'll have to look for it next time we rent a movie. :)

Mari said...

This sounds like a movie I would like. I'm going to look for it. Thanks Kelly-Anne!

Daniela said...

I think this movie to be so exciting, I hope to be able and see it very soon in Italy, maybe in the Christmas Time, I also love period dramas so much, especially those taking place in XVIIIth-XIXth century, thank you sweetest Kelly Anne to this lovely review of yours !
Sending blessings
Dany