Amma Asante’s Belle premiered last month at TIFF.
The film tells the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) the bi-racial, illegitimate daughter of a Royal Navy admiral in the 18th century. When her father returns to sea, customs of the time dictate that Belle is to be raised as an aristocrat. Her guardians (Tom Wilkinson and Emily Watson) raise Belle to respect the laws and customs she’s raised under but also alienate her because of her race.
This is a film that deals with race issues and class issues as Belle has inherited money from her father so she does not have to marry to survive, yet her cousin is forced to marry as she has no money to her name. Belle is free from certain conventions because of her financial status, yet incredibly restricted because of the color of her skin.
Belle will hit UK theatres in the spring and US theaters on May 2, 2014.