Belle Reviews

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Tim Brayton
Antagony & Ecstasy
January 15, 2015
More or less single-handedly saved by its actors.
Full Review | Original Score: 7/10
Paul Chambers
Movie Chambers
November 12, 2014
| Original Score: B+
Graham Young
Birmingham Mail
October 10, 2014
Though having the kind of pedestrian pace which often hits British costume dramas (Keira Knightley's 2008 film The Duchess excepted), Belle is sumptuously filmed and feels relevant.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Kate Muir
Times [UK]
September 23, 2014
The teenage Dido Elizabeth Belle is impressively played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw with a tender sensibility and a growing awareness.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Todd Jorgenson
Cinemalogue.com
June 30, 2014
The film works as both an intimate character piece and as a broader glimpse into socioeconomic conflicts regarding tolerance and perception.
Mark Kermode
Observer [UK]
June 15, 2014
A finely wrought tale of a woman out of time, a film that plays eloquently upon the heartstrings as it interweaves familiar personal intrigue with stirring social history.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Jason Best
Movie Talk
June 15, 2014
Loosely inspired by the true story of a mixed-race woman who mingled with the aristocracy of 18th-century England, Belle is a frock flick with a difference... In this costume drama something is actually going on beneath the bonnet.
George Byrne
Irish Independent
June 13, 2014
The direction from Amma Assante is perfectly judged and impeccably paced and the result is a film which is very easy on the eye but has a lot to say for itself.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Sophie Mayer
Sight and Sound
June 13, 2014
This inextricable intertwining of love and justice, private and public, personal and political, is the film's great cri de coeur and its structural brilliance, as costume and courtroom drama comment on, and merge into, each other.
MaryAnn Johanson
Flick Filosopher
June 13, 2014
Wonderful true story about a mixed-race woman raised in an aristocratic British family in the late 18th century; like the best Jane Austen romance with an angry social conscience.
Rich Cline
Contactmusic.com
June 13, 2014
The plot feels like a Jane Austen novel infused with a hot-potato political issue, but this is actually a true story.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Charlotte O'Sullivan
This is London
June 13, 2014
Asante's own work of art is lamentably cautious but does, ultimately, throw up things we haven't seen before. It's pretty, in other words, but not entirely vacant.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Damon Wise
Radio Times
June 13, 2014
It's hard to imagine the true story of Britain's first mixed-race aristocrat being told more elegantly than in this warm and often very funny period piece, which brings a subtle political gravitas to its central fairy-tale romance.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Geoffrey Macnab
Independent
June 12, 2014
With Belle, Asante has succeeded in making a sweeping costume drama that confronts questions of race and gender head on -- something that Merchant Ivory films rarely managed to do.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Laurence Phelan
Independent
June 12, 2014
A spirited, good-natured and crowd-pleasing costume drama.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Allan Hunter
Daily Express
June 12, 2014
An assured rendering of a fascinating true story that gives off sparks of wit and vitality that make it instantly engrossing.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Peter Bradshaw
Guardian
June 12, 2014
Asante handles this mainstream commercial picture with assurance.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Ryan Gilbey
New Statesman
June 12, 2014
One of the points of Belle, expressed in its central metaphor of the portrait for which the cousins pose, is that someone is always at risk of being painted out of history. The film paints everyone back in.
Ashley Clark
Little White Lies
June 12, 2014
Race, love and social politics are deftly handled in Amma Asante's forcefully-acted feminist period drama.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Tim Evans
Sky Movies
June 12, 2014
Belle - while never slipping into fiery polemic - makes its political points solidly, careful to couch its righteous invective in a compelling narrative inspired by a true story.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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