So yesterday I finally rented the movie Belle and it was much more than I was expecting. I had seen previews for it on other DVD’s I had rented and to be honest I didn’t really know what the movie was about. When I picked it up I knew it was about a biracial woman in 18th century England. That was enough for me to be intrigued.
What I learned is that Belle is based on a true story about Dido Elizabeth Belle, a woman born to Captain Sir John Lindsay and a former slave he had rescued. We don’t ever learn much about her mother, or even her father, except he wanted her raised with her aristocratic white family. How revolutionary! There were many levels to the movie and of course a romance. What I found most interesting was poor Dido’s position in the world. She was obviously much better off than most blacks at that time. She was raised a lady and even had her own fortune, and yet she lived on the edges of society, not fitting in anywhere. Even worse, her family did not want her to marry because they believed no one worthy of them would make an offer and they (and thus she) were too good for anyone who would want a black wife. Oy, quite the conundrum and truly quite sad.
But Dido does find not one but two suitors and even love while battling for the rights of blacks in England. To say that Belle is interesting is very simplistic. It has a little bit of something for everyone. You can find romance, lush costumes, social structures of 18th century England, and a court case concerning slaves I had never heard of before in Belle. But best of all, it had Dido, a woman ready to take on the injustices of her world. Pick it up some time, you won’t regret it.