Melodrama is not my favorite trope in movies, and thankfully this had little of that. However, just for clarity, it did have some but not enough to call it “a melodrama.” The story moved quickly and stayed interesting, the creators didn’t bog the story down with constant instances of discrimination from the white characters to the black character, there was some but didn’t pummel you with it.
The Premise: An 18th century multi-raced woman is the illegitimate daughter of a British Naval Officer, and he brings her home to his uncle to raise her until he gets out of the service. However, while in the service he’s killed and Belle becomes the charge of the uncle. Which was a rather noble act based on the status of a black person at that time. As she grows up with her white cousin, they become fast friends. When they become adults, Belle is left a “living” of 2000.00£ a year, and the other cousin is left penniless, by Belle’s father’s brother. Which gave the movie its irony, Belle’s only handicap was she was of mixed race.
The cast of this story was interesting, there were a lot of unfamiliar faces. The younger actors in the film were all new faces for american audiences. As there were of course some familiar one’s, like Tom Wilkinson, MI: IV, and Emily Watson, Punch Drunk Love, but overall I liked that I didn’t know most of the actors. The film managed to not be preachy as it explained a specific case in British history, as well as Belle’s character being based on a real person.
The Sum Up: With new faces, and great costumes, the director Amma Asante did her homework, and gave the film balance. It’s again very nice to see director’s of color directing stories about people of color, what a refreshing thought. The soundtrack was good, and the story kept me interested, also, some of the co-stars were extremely convincing at being awful to the main character. I give this movie a B, NOTE WORTHY, see either in theaters or on DVD but see it. It also is very clean, a period piece you can take kids 10 and up to see, rated PG. ~ Musings&Rants