Yes, this is not a book review, but a movie review that is worth sharing. Since I actually touched on the subject of an aristocratic family, in my book The Price of Deception, making their fortune in slave trading, I found this movie both moving and inspirational on many levels.
I took the commuter train to downtown Portland to see Belle at the one theater in which it is playing. It is a shame, because the movie needs to be released in many more theaters across the country. It is, frankly, the best film I have seen in a long time. The story pulls at the heartstrings of the audience and challenges each person to consider the value of human life. The themes in the picture are multiple. Above all, it is a true story based on a woman by the name of Dido Elizabeth Belle, the illegitimate, mixed-race daughter of a Navy Admiral, Sir John Lindsay.
The class separation is starkly portrayed, as well as the plight of women who have no inheritance and must find a husband in order to survive. (After all, it’s 1789, or thereabout, and women had no rights.) It also challenges the audience over the value of human life, the way we view others of different color, and the bravery of men and women who worked on bringing about social change. The fact that Belle was born and grew up in a family where her great uncle was the Lord Chief Justice, is by all rights providential. Their relationship forces him to examine his own conscience regarding slavery and human rights, influencing a decision in his court that changes the future of England. I found the film to be a moving story on many levels. When I shed a tear at the end and it deeply touches my emotions, it is well worth five stars.