I finally got to see Belle a few weeks ago with a group of girlfriends. I can highly recommend the film, although it is not without it's faults. Having said that, this is a DVD which will be welcomed into my collection when it is released. And I hope there are loads of extras as my main gripe was the film was TOO SHORT!
Dido Elizabeth Belle Lindsay was the "natural daughter" of British Naval Officer Captain John Lindsay and Maria Belle, a West Indian slave. Born in 1761, her father brought her back to England in 1765, taking her to the home of his uncle William Murray, the 1st Earl of Mansfield and his wife Lady Elizabeth to be raised with another niece Elizabeth Murray who was about the same age (photo of the painting which immortalizes the friendship above).
So, obviously the story practically writes itself. It was a tale which had to be told. The acting is great and the sets and costumes are the most incredible eye candy. So what is my beef? It is TOO SHORT! At only 107 minutes long, there is not enough character development to truly pull you into the story. It is almost as if the script writer Misan Sagay feared fictionalizing too much of this amazing story, so she just stuck to the facts. Harrumph! However she did a fine job with what is there. I was just left hungering for more.
So by all means, see it and judge for yourself. Like I said, I will wait hopefully for the DVD and PLEASE may there be many deleted scenes and extras to justify the purchase. I will also go to visit Kenwood House when I am in London later this month. I'd like to see the house where Dido and her cousin were raised (as well as the Vermeer and other great art works) on Hampstead Heath.
You know Kenwood House, it's the grand white house in Notting Hill where Hugh Grant goes to see Julia Roberts filming a costume drama- I think it was a Henry James adaptation. Anyway, here is the link for the trailer for Belle: