Belle Reviews

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September 23, 2014
The teenage Dido Elizabeth Belle is impressively played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw with a tender sensibility and a growing awareness.
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.
June 12, 2014
Asante handles this mainstream commercial picture with assurance.
June 12, 2014
Race, love and social politics are deftly handled in Amma Asante's forcefully-acted feminist period drama.
June 10, 2014
A good-looking and exceedingly polite film where perhaps a more complex one with less good manners would have been better.
May 22, 2014
It's an old-fashioned movie with a very modern streak, centered by a vibrant star turn by Mbatha-Raw, whose watchful, wise Dido makes an enchanting heroine.
May 19, 2014
Charming and stirring.
May 16, 2014
Luminous British actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw brings a hope and intelligent hunger to Dido. She's loved by her family enough to have a sense of belonging but hemmed in by broader cultural realities to experience moments of unease.
May 16, 2014
The film simply looks lovely, never moreso than when Mbatha-Raw is on screen.
May 15, 2014
Belle presents an interesting history lesson, one that had significant repercussions, but some of the developments in this storyline turn out to be woefully convenient.
May 15, 2014
With stately surroundings and hissable villains, director Amma Assante imbues the finale with such dramatic resonance that "Belle" becomes a ringing proclamation of human dignity.
May 14, 2014
The visual heritage is not squandered: whatever its faults, Belle looks fantastic.
May 12, 2014
Asante directs this complex story with full reverence for the costume drama and an acute sense of timing.
May 9, 2014
There's the occasional false note. The proto-abolitionist Davinier has been given dialogue that verges on the preachy. But this is a small quibble in a story of 250-year-old pride and prejudice that resonates today.
May 9, 2014
Brings these themes to a dramatic head: romance and race, privilege and justice.
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.
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.
May 8, 2014
A lavish 18th-century historical piece that blends a Jane Austen-like romance with a political drama that explores slavery from a unique perspective.
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.
May 8, 2014
One occasionally wishes Asante had chosen a more rigorous course of action with her period piece, but she perhaps also knows that sugar is more seductive than sermons.
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