This Mother’s Day, I was treated to the film, Belle. If you haven’t seen the trailer (or the movie), watch this:
The last time my family and I watched a movie on Mother’s Day it was Disney’s, The Princess and the Frog. Flashing your Mother’s Day card entitles you to see any “chick flick” or “girl movie” your heart desires, something I largely miss out on living in a house full of men.
But I wouldn’t describe Belle as a chick flick. Belle is the story of Dido Elizabeth Belle Lindsay, the illegitimate mixed-race daughter of an aristocrat. She and her (white) cousin, Elizabeth are raised as sisters, by their great-uncle Lord Mansfield and his wife. Belle’s lineage affords her certain privileges, yet her status prevents her from the traditions of noble social standing. (i.e., she’s black) While Elizabeth is free to pursue marriage, Belle is left wondering if she will ever find love. After meeting an idealistic young vicar’s son bent on changing society, he and Belle help shape Lord Mansfield’s role as Lord Chief Justice to end slavery in England.
So what do The Princess and the Frog and Belle have in common? Very little except that the lead roles are portrayals of black woman, even if one of them is animated. That part is important to me. Like most people, the reflection I see in the mirror is the one I like seeing in media.
Belle is portrayed by Gugu Mbatha-Raw, with whom you will absolutely fall in love. The movie also has a black, woman director, Amma Asante and writer, Misan Sagay.
Like I said, powerful stuff!
We found it playing at Bethesda Row Cinema. It is available in limited release, but hopefully you will support it, if (and when) it comes to your area. And don’t forget to let me know what you think about it.