Belle Reviews

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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
This is quite a dense film in terms of character; there's a lot to get your teeth into and, at the end of it all, it's a rattling good story.
May 12, 2014
Asante directs this complex story with full reverence for the costume drama and an acute sense of timing.
May 12, 2014
Writer-director Amma Asante has created a complex tale of race, gender, and love that has very clear present-day resonance.
May 11, 2014
It has all the hallmarks of the genre style-wise, but it never feels stuffy. Fans of the genre have spent a lot of time in this world, but we're seeing it through new eyes.
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
A beautiful, thoughtful performance in a film that has all of the trappings of the best sumptuous costume dramas but has a story with unexpected contemporary meaning.
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.
May 8, 2014
"Belle" has the pace and sumptuous cinematography of a Merchant and Ivory production, but none of their memorable characters, subtle performances, or literate dialogue.
May 8, 2014
The movie packs a lot in, and the quick pace of early scenes can feel like running on a treadmill, but "Belle" settles into a nice rhythm.
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.
May 8, 2014
"Belle" is a beautiful period piece, but it's also something more: a study of racism, classism and sexism in 18th-century England.
May 8, 2014
Its best performers find their truths and telling details in between the straightforward expository lines.
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