Cert: 12A / 104 mins / Dir. Amma Asante
Far closer in tone to 2013's Lincoln than the 12 Years train the media seem to be pushing it onto, Belle doesn't come across quite as powerfully as its makers intended it to, although it's still a very fine film.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Tom Wilkinson are exceptional as the central character Dido Elizabeth Belle and her well-meaning, if fusty uncle, Lord Mansfield. Everyone else's performance seems a little over-worthy however, and the cast often stumble over their formal, stilted dialogue. We're treated to an altogether impressive ensemble, but it seems almost as if they're too hesitant in the scenes which require them to be the outright racists the screenplay requires, like they're afraid the clips will be used out of context, somehow. Because of this, the film lacks the conviction you know it should have. If anything, I'm surprised at how 'gentle' the drama is, given that some aspects of the story have already been adapted for the screen.
Belle is certainly an engaging enough period-piece, but in different hands it I think it could have been so much more; a picture which needed to be painted with bolder colours.
For the most part.
I don't think it does.
This is a Sunday-night DVD.
At some point, but there's no burning urge at the moment.
There isn't. Who would have thought it?.
Is Tom 'Draco Malfoy' Fenton actually going to get some roles which don't require him to be A Sneering Arsehole™? Only I'm starting to think he's either been typecast, or he's not actually acting at all…
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