Sunday, May 18, 2014

"Belle," Directed By Amma Asante

"Belle," directed by Amma Asante and based a true story, centers on the daughter of a deceased African slave woman and a white navy captain, Sir John Lindsay (Matthew Goode) in late 18th-century England. Sir John, who must return to a sea expedition, takes his child, Dido Elizabeth Belle (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), to his uncle, Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson), a judge, and his aunt, Lady Mansfield (Emily Watson), and asks them to raise her with her cousin Elizabeth Murray (Sarah Gadon). The Mansfields defy convention by raising Dido as their daughter amidst aristocratic splendor, but they bow to convention by not allowing her to dine at the table on important occasions. The film grows in tension as Lord Mansfield must judge an important case in 1783 concerning slave traders who intentionally drowned a shipload of slaves (the Zong massacre) at sea and demanded insurance compensation. At the same time, Dido and a young aspiring lawyer (Sam Reid) who is passionately against slavery, fall in love. Through these events, Dido confronts her contradictory situation and compellingly comes of age as a black woman raised in comfort and even inheriting property, yet subject to racism in a society just beginning to confront the ugly realities of slavery.


Michael J. Mand said...

Thank you for the review. We thoroughly enjoyed this film. There is an underlying sub-plot that I intend to address on the next SJI.

Jeff Tone said...

Looking forward to hearing it on St. James Infirmary.