1769: a Royal Navy captain leaves his young daughter in the care of his aristocratic uncle (Tom Wilkinson). Small problem, though – the girl’s illegitimate. And black. Amazingly, Amma Asante’s film is based on the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, daughter of a West Indian slave, raised at Kenwood House by Lord Mansfield, whose affection for her led to a crucial change in British law.
As Belle, Gugu Mbatha-Raw gives a luminous performance, aided by a script that creates a powerful tension between the formality of the language and the passion of the sentiments.
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