Belle Reviews

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January 20, 2021
In a star-making performance, Mbatha-Raw breathes life into what could've easily been a woman of color stand-in for a Jane Austen character.
August 13, 2020
Belle is a movie with commitment, a well-composed storyline and an intoxicating look and feel...
July 31, 2020
Viewers won't be shaken by this true story so much as mildly stirred as they follow the title character's unusual path through British society in the 1700s.
August 30, 2019
A superbly plum role inhabited gloriously by Gugu Mbatha-Raw.
August 7, 2019
Belle's lavish visuals and smart dialogue are as finely tooled as in an A-list Jane Austen epic. But aside from the issue of a woman's subjugation, the dramatic stakes are raised...
June 14, 2019
As purely enjoyable as it is important, Belle has opened the door to a new era that can only get better from here.
March 13, 2019
Belle has a great lead performance from a Black actress in a Black woman director's film of a Black woman's script about a Black woman in European history (who wasn't a slave): an opportunity that doesn't come very often for audiences.
March 5, 2019
While indignant in its stance, the film is never preachy, instead presenting a strong sense of morality that is difficult to ignore with-out resorting to unnecessary emotional histrionics, focussing instead on the characters.
February 1, 2019
Director Amma Asante has crafted a film that is part Jane Austen and part historical drama, with one element more interesting than the other. Mbatha-Raw carries the film well.
December 14, 2018
...a provocative essence of the well-received 19-century costume drama. British-Ghanaian filmmaker Amma Asante oversees an inviting and lyrical exposition entrenched in the societal shades of rejection, feminism, racism and cultural identity crisis.
November 3, 2018
All in all, it's an enjoyable film, it's just hard to see how such a powder keg of issues could burn so slowly.
August 28, 2018
Romantic, elegant and triumphant, Belle is as deft an exploration of the intersection of race, class and gender as I've seen on any kind of screen.
August 22, 2018
It's clear that Mbatha-Raw is a precocious talent.
February 21, 2018
Belle is 12 Years a Slave written by Legally Blonde's Elle Woods: a frothing bonnet-athon that owes more to Jane Austen than it does to William Wilberforce.
January 3, 2018
Though the story is set up elegantly, by the halfway point it's obvious where it's headed and it ploddingly sets about going there.
December 3, 2017
If Spielberg had commissioned Jane Austen to write the screenplay for Amistad, Belle is pretty much what we would have gotten. It's a sumptuous period piece reflecting on 18th-century social mores: rank, revenue, and-in this case-race.
November 22, 2017
With its unique perspective and director Amma Asante's choice to avoid heavy-handedness, Belle is an effective vehicle for its message.
September 16, 2017
Still, as an evening's entertainment and florid romance, "Belle" is enjoyable as a period piece of romantic fiction and a case of "what if." Gugu Mbatha-Raw carries the film nicely and Miranda Richardson makes this melodrama fun just with an eye-roll.
September 12, 2017
Belle succeeds as an effective portrait of a singular young woman understanding her own identity
August 15, 2017
But in trying to give us a woman to root for [Amma] Asante drops twenty-first century characters into the 1700s, taking many liberties with the true story and bludgeoning us with a manipulative score.
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