Sunday, July 20, 2014

A Review of Belle!

BELLE is inspired by the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), the illegitimate mixed race daughter of Admiral Sir John Lindsay (Matthew Goode). Raised by her aristocratic great-uncle Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson) and his wife (Emily Watson), Belle's lineage affords her certain privileges, yet her status prevents her from the traditions of noble social standing.
While her cousin Elizabeth (Sarah Gadon) chases suitors for marriage, Belle is left on the sidelines wondering if she will ever find love. After meeting an idealistic young vicar's son bent on changing society, he and Belle help shape Lord Mansfield's role as Lord Chief Justice to end slavery in England.--Rotten Tomatoes



--I saw the movie Belle last night and loved it!!

--The movie has numerous aspects to it that made me fall in love with it:
  • It is loosely based on some true historical events 
  • It is a "Jane Austen" type movie with an abolition theme 
--Historical Facts:
  • The above 1779 painting of Dido Elizabeth Belle and her cousin, Lady Elizabeth Murray is what inspired the movie.  
  • The painting was "one of the first European portraits to portray a black subject on an equal eye-line with a white aristocrat."
  • Belle was indeed the illegitimate mixed-race daughter of Maria Belle (an African slave in the West Indies) and Naval Officer, Captain John Lindsay.
  • Lindsay entrusted Belle to his Uncle William Murray in 1765.
  • William Murray was the 1st Earl of Mansfield and the Lord Chief Justice of England.
  • Murray did indeed rule in 2 important slavery cases--Somerset vs. Stewart in 1772 and the Zong Massacre trials of 1783 which did help pave the way for the Slave Trade Act of 1807.  Thus inspiring William Wilberforce to fight for the abolition of slavery in 1833.
--The rest of the movie is fiction, but extremely well-done.  I highly recommend it!  

Resources:
--The Zong by James Walvin

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