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reviews

64
Based on 35 Reviews
critic reviews (10)
fan reviews ( 11 )
  • 75
    Mick LaSalle San Francisco Chronicle

    Belle isn't a perfect movie; in some ways it's obvious. But even if it's not true to history, it's true to that painting and worthy of its inspiration. show more

  • 75
    Claudia Puig USA Today

    The layered film's blend of Austen-style romance, courtroom drama and historical look at the British slave trade works surprisingly well, though there are moments — especially involving the conniving suitors — that teeter on melodrama. show more

  • 75
    Steven Rea Philadelphia Inquirer

    Belle, with its country manors and its city slums, its snooty nobles and its fiery idealists, its ballroom dances and barroom conspiracies, brings these themes to a dramatic head: romance and race, privilege and justice. show more

  • 80
    New York Daily News

    The serious tone of director Amma Asante’s film goes far in undercutting any gloss. It looks more like a murky Rembrandt than an episode of “Downton Abbey.” show more

  • 80
    Inkoo Kang The Wrap

    Belle's extraordinary intelligence is most evident in its slow but satisfying disentanglement of the jumble of privileges and disadvantages that the wealthy, aristocratic, and learned — but also female, half-black, and pitifully sheltered — Dido embodies. show more

  • 60
    John DeFore The Hollywood Reporter

    Though the inventions of Misan Sagay's script emphasize concerns over dowries and social rank that will be grating for many contemporary viewers, extracting little of the humor that Austen regularly found in such hang-ups, the picture's sour notes are balanced by fine performances and clear historical appeal. show more

  • 100
    Roger Moore Movie Nation

    Beautifully cast, touchingly played and handsomely mounted, Belle is as close to perfect as any costumed romance has a right to be. show more

  • 75
    Joe Williams St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    With stately surroundings and hissable villains, director Amma Assante imbues the finale with such dramatic resonance that Belle becomes a ringing proclamation of human dignity. show more

  • 75
    Rex Reed New York Observer

    Elegant and understated, Belle is a true story about the effects of slavery on 18th-century England, told in the style of a sweeping romantic saga by Jane Austen or the Brontë sisters. show more

  • 63
    Bruce Ingram Chicago Sun-Times

    When Asante finally closes with a close-up of Belle’s portrait, there’s something in her eyes and her smile that suggests so much more. show more

  • June 23, 2014 Margaret Opine
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    HISTORICAL AND IMPECCABLY DONE. A REAL MOMENT IN WESTERN HISTORY FOR ALL OF US MODERN PEOPLE. (SURE, SOME CREATIVE LICENSE WAS DONE--AND--WHEN IS IT NOT DONE? IT IS JUST A GOOD MOVIE. SEEN IT MORE THAN ONCE WITH DIFFERENT PEOPLE; WILL BUY IT FOR MY LIBRARY. I LIKE THE POINT IT MAKES ABOUT PEOPLE. IT IS RATHER "FREEING" OF OLD IDEALS AND IDEAS.--MO

  • June 06, 2014 ruzzoph
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    Absolutely wonderful film. You genuinely feel for the lovers, of course, but also for the fight against slavery, as age old prejudices live on only too well. The characters are extraordinarily well drawn and engaging, and the story is told with great humanity.

  • June 02, 2014 jerryjou
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    I liked the movie very much. I found it very colorful and interesting. Go see it you'll like .the sets and costumes and you'll get involved with the very interesting story it tells. Jerry

  • May 24, 2014 sgb629
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    The subject matter was most important and certainly the message was delivered to the audience through the marvelous portrayals given by a stellar cast. Sets and costumes were beautifully done as was the music which emphasized the more emotional/poignant portions of the film.

  • May 23, 2014 Rosalyn B.
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    I enjoyed this movie from the beginning to the end. I cried, I laughed, it reminded me of this movie I saw awhile back called Amazing Grace. It was base almost on the same theme. I am thankful for the Writer for writing a movie that was so tasteful. Because in today world we are still going threw this problem I hope people can learn from this movie that we are human being first not color.

  • May 17, 2014 TahitiGables
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    One of the best movies I have seen in years!

  • May 15, 2014 Margaret Opine
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    ''BELLE'' IS 5-star ALL THE WAY. IT IS A PERFECT MOVIE, THE PRESENTATION IS DONE VERY WELL...and when it comes to history, just say "his" story--you never know what you're gonna get! BUT WHAT WE CAN KNOW FOR A FACT is when we sit in the theater today and watch ''BELLE'' we know as Americans it is ''dam sure'' short-sighted intelligence to call a baby "illegitimate" because we don't believe in that now. We don't subscribe and celebrate any kind of "bullying" and ''harrassment'' and ''deliberate down-falling'' to make it so that the smallest of our citizenry begins their American life with shackles. So, the discription up above using all those adjectives is just disgusting, even ignorant. Those words should be put in quote marks and said, "word-use from that period". Even the word ''slave''; we don't subscribe to the use of that word in our modern lexicon; the correct word today is "enslaved", a verb, which denotes that some people acted "evil" and accosted some innocent people and atrocitized them to make them "act" a certain way. YES...''BELLE'' the movie put all our "dams" and "other curse words'' and bad deeds right into our faces so we cannot turn away. PEOPLE DO THAT TO ALL PEOPLE, think of the many ways to ''enslave' people'' and some say it is necessary to ''create an economy''. ''BELLE'' does not SLAM you with the issues, the story and events in history are actually laced in among other issues like love and family and money and rank and then slavery issues and consciousness. I guess that's the way women do it. Sort of make it nice for you but telling you something REALLY BIG AND VERY IMPORTANT all along, like, "DON'T BEAT WOMEN"...which we inspire to do today, you know! THANK YOU SO MUCH BRITISH-MOVIE-MAKERS, YOU CREATED SOMETHING THAT SOME OF US WILL NEVER-EVER FORGET. WE APPRECIATE YOU. GO TO THE MOVIES FOLKS AND SEE 'BELLE' & GET YO'SELF A NICE EDUCATION ON A VERY IMPORTANT SUBJECT AND ISSUE THAT IS TRUE FOR PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD IN THE ENTIRE HUMAN(E) EXPERIENCE! MARGARET OPINE, Critic & Controversalist & Activist Against Human Enslavement

  • May 11, 2014 lgjhere1
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    Outstanding! What a pleasant relief from all the amateurish trash coming out from Hollywood. If it doesn't get an Academy Award nod it will be an injustice, just as the subject of the movie was in the late 1700s. Delicate like butterfly wings yet pounding like a pile driver on the subjecty of slavery, it has perfect casting, directing, story telling, and scenery.

  • May 10, 2014 dukedewf
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    Sort of a cross between "Armistad" and a Jane Austin novel. Beautiful costumes, great acting. Tight story. Gives the viewer more actual history about the slave trade in the 1700s and those responsible. Highly recommended.

  • May 09, 2014 jpewther
    Report This User

    I can't imagine how this story could have been told better, so I gave it five stars.

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