Belle

Belle

83%
  • PG, 1 hr. 42 min.
  • Drama
  • Directed By:
    Amma Asante
    In Theaters:
    May 2, 2014 Limited
    On DVD:
    Aug 26, 2014
  • Fox Searchlight

Opening

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Belle Reviews

Page 1 of 7
Deborah Ross
The Spectator

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.

Full Review Source: The Spectator

June 12, 2014
Tomas Hachard
Slant Magazine

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 Source: Slant Magazine | Original Score: 2/4

April 27, 2014
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky
AV Club
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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 Source: AV Club | Original Score: C

May 8, 2014
Emma Dibdin
Digital Spy

Visually drab despite its appealing range of period London scenery, Belle is a well-intentioned but somewhat emotionally stiff drama.

Full Review Source: Digital Spy | Original Score: 2/5

June 12, 2014
Siobhan Synnot
Scotsman

Belle isn't awful, but it is awfully slow, didactic and far too reliant on Mbatha-Raw's fine, expressive eyes.

Full Review Source: Scotsman | Original Score: 3/5

June 8, 2014
Annlee Ellingson
L.A. Biz

This costume drama suffers slightly from the overwrought melodrama risked by the genre.

Full Review Source: L.A. Biz

May 2, 2014
Robert Levin
amNewYork

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 Source: amNewYork | Original Score: 2.5/4

May 1, 2014
Bruce Ingram
Chicago Sun-Times
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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 Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Original Score: 2.5/4

May 8, 2014
Brian Orndorf
Blu-ray.com

Belle feels like sitting through the rehearsal process of a Broadway play that's in serious need of work.

Full Review Source: Blu-ray.com | Original Score: C-

May 15, 2014
Nigel Andrews
Financial Times

It's an inert, pompous, un-cinematic piece of cinema.

Full Review Source: Financial Times | Original Score: 2/5

June 12, 2014
Matt Pais
RedEye

Treatment like this makes people shrug off reality rather than process it.

Full Review Source: RedEye | Original Score: 2.5/4

May 8, 2014
Jake Coyle
Associated Press
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The golden-hued "Belle," handsomely made with lavish period detail, has none of the charged friction of its poster.

Full Review Source: Associated Press | Original Score: 2/4

April 30, 2014
Wesley Morris
Grantland
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[The movie] is so determined to be moral and good and optimistically anti-tragic that it forgets to be interesting, original, and illuminating.

Full Review Source: Grantland

May 8, 2014
David Nusair
Reel Film Reviews

...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 Source: Reel Film Reviews | Original Score: 2/4

June 7, 2014
John Wirt
Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA)

A history-based story that both stilted and melodramatic.

Full Review Source: Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA) | Original Score: 2/4

May 30, 2014
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
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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.

Full Review Source: Chicago Reader

May 8, 2014
Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out New York
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The movie seems to exist to give its white characters belated moments of conscience.

Full Review Source: Time Out New York | Original Score: 2/5

April 29, 2014
Jonathan Kiefer
SF Weekly

Something like 'Guess Who's Coming to Dinner' crossed with 'Pride and Prejudice.'

Full Review Source: SF Weekly

June 6, 2014
Stephanie Zacharek
Village Voice
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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.

Full Review Source: Village Voice

April 29, 2014
Michael Sragow
Orange County Register
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Director Amma Assante and screenwriter Misan Sagay weigh down everything by introducing portentous melodrama and brittle social dramedy.

Full Review Source: Orange County Register | Original Score: C

May 1, 2014
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