Another film that was tipped as a possible late entry into the awards season thicket, the respectful if rather quiet premiere of “Belle” last month at the Toronto International Film Festival put any of those plans on hold. Instead, a release next spring is in the works, but Fox Searchlight will use the limited release of “12 Years A Slave” this weekend to help get the word out.
The first trailer for “Belle” has arrived, and it treads on somewhat similar thematic territory as Steve McQueen‘s film, but with far more wigs and frills, and far less brutality. Directed by Amma Asante, the film is based on a true story and follows Dido Elizebeth Belle, the illegitimate mixed race daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral, who is raised by her aristocratic great-uncle Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson) and his wife (Emily Watson). And while her bloodlines afford her certain privilege she would otherwise never know, her presence also causes no short of social problems, while the future in an England that still allows slavery is in question.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw has been buzzed about for her performance in the titular part, and she looks on good form here. And the supporting cast is strong too with Tom Wilkinson, Emily Watson, Sarah Gadon, Miranda Richardson, Tom Felton and Matthew Goode on board. “Belle” opens on May 2, 2014. Watch below.