Belle Reviews

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Deborah Ross
The Spectator
June 12, 2014
This is disappointingly lifeless, and shallow, and the soundtrack! So many violins, you'll leave feeling as if you've been quite violently smacked around the head with one. Repeatedly.
Tomas Hachard
Slant Magazine
April 27, 2014
The film is concerned largely with intellectual horrors and portrays the fight against slavery rather neatly as a growing feeling of internal guilt that slowly turns society toward the light.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
May 8, 2014
A slice of Masterpiece Theatre cheese in which a biracial heiress makes her way through 18th-century English society while her guardian tries an insurance fraud case involving a slave ship.
Full Review | Original Score: C
Emma Dibdin
Digital Spy
June 12, 2014
Visually drab despite its appealing range of period London scenery, Belle is a well-intentioned but somewhat emotionally stiff drama.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Siobhan Synnot
Scotsman
June 8, 2014
Belle isn't awful, but it is awfully slow, didactic and far too reliant on Mbatha-Raw's fine, expressive eyes.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Annlee Ellingson
L.A. Biz
May 2, 2014
This costume drama suffers slightly from the overwrought melodrama risked by the genre.
Robert Levin
amNewYork
May 1, 2014
Lots to recommend but there's enough here for two movies and in trying to tell both stories the picture shortchanges each one.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Bruce Ingram
Chicago Sun-Times
May 8, 2014
Powerful stuff, for sure. Yet, when Asante finally closes with a close-up of Belle's portrait, there's something in her eyes and her smile that suggests so much more.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Brian Orndorf
Blu-ray.com
May 15, 2014
Belle feels like sitting through the rehearsal process of a Broadway play that's in serious need of work.
Full Review | Original Score: C-
Nigel Andrews
Financial Times
June 12, 2014
It's an inert, pompous, un-cinematic piece of cinema.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Matt Pais
RedEye
May 8, 2014
Treatment like this makes people shrug off reality rather than process it.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Jake Coyle
Associated Press
April 30, 2014
The golden-hued "Belle," handsomely made with lavish period detail, has none of the charged friction of its poster.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Wesley Morris
Grantland
May 8, 2014
[The movie] is so determined to be moral and good and optimistically anti-tragic that it forgets to be interesting, original, and illuminating.
David Nusair
Reel Film Reviews
June 7, 2014
...it does seem obvious that the inherently stirring material could (and should) have been employed to much better effect (ie this is just lifeless, for the most part).
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
John Wirt
Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA)
May 30, 2014
A history-based story that both stilted and melodramatic.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
May 8, 2014
This British historical drama is getting the "inspiring true story" treatment, though the inspiring parts aren't true and the true parts aren't inspiring.
Top Critic
Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out
April 29, 2014
The movie seems to exist to give its white characters belated moments of conscience.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Jonathan Kiefer
SF Weekly
June 6, 2014
Something like 'Guess Who's Coming to Dinner' crossed with 'Pride and Prejudice.'
Top Critic
Stephanie Zacharek
Village Voice
April 29, 2014
Belle is handsome-looking, shot in golden, faded-brocade tones by Ben Smithard, but it moves stiffly, encumbered by too many petticoats of expository dialogue.
Top Critic
Michael Sragow
Orange County Register
May 1, 2014
Director Amma Assante and screenwriter Misan Sagay weigh down everything by introducing portentous melodrama and brittle social dramedy.
Full Review | Original Score: C
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