Dido Elizabeth Belle, actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw, is a true story of a high society young African-American mixed English during the 18th century. Belle finds herself in high society but has a hard time finding herself anywhere.
She struggles to balance things every day. She is the daughter of a slave and Sir John Lindsay, a navy ship captain. Her grandparents become her caregiver, Mansfield Her status as aristocrats provides her a lifestyle that is of class and comfort. This story looks at gender, race, and class.
Belle finds herself eating alone when guests arrive she is not allowed to dine with the staff at this time either. This reality is her status is not high enough to eat with guests but too high to eat with the servants. She is kept hidden from society, during a time that many young women traditionally come out to society for formal courtship.
Her cousin, Elizabeth groomed and readied for her coming out, even though she has no dowry to offer. Belle being an heiress to her father’s fortune after his untimely death provides her dowry, but does not have social standing for courtship. The custom at this time is a black woman is not seen in white circles.
She finds herself struggling with the fact that she is not fully accepted because of her skin color. The complexity love from her family but the burden of being unaccepted becomes a climactic moment where she is clawing at her skin and face in anguish. A strong demonstration of what is going on inside Belle as she struggles with being the daughter of a slave and a navy captain.
This struggle is one that many faces in life. They take on the social standards for beauty and how we each place expectations on ourselves wanting acceptance by others. The film demonstrates Belle bringing her to self-acceptance. Self-acceptance is a great health Releasing that she is more than her skin color. She embraces the love of her life leaving behind her status in high society.The director, Amma Asante, brings the story from the inside of Belle to the outside makes it authentic and real.
The director addresses the realization of the time period issues of race, class, and gender. She uses layers to present her story. The complexity being African-American woman who is learning gain acceptance of herself in her place in life. This layering brings this very relatable struggle for many even today. Belle’s journey of self-acceptance brings the audience full circle from unacceptance to self-acceptance.
The story based on a painting of Elizabeth and Belle that hung in the Kenwood house for decades. The painting shows Belle slightly elevated in the painting to her white cousin. They are touching in this painting. It demonstrating that Elizabeth is accepting of Belle and her new self-acceptance in life. Belle finds empowerment, freedom, and happiness with her self-acceptance. The film brings love, change, and equality to the forefront while showing the development of self-assurance.
Roger Ebert created Roger Ebert’s Overlooked Film Festival or better known as Ebertfest. Ebert was a TV and Chicago Sun-Times film critic. This festival is held at the Virginia Theatre in Champaign IL. This place is near Ebert’s hometown, Urbana. This year celebrates 20 years of Ebertfest. Chaz Ebert, Ebert’s wife keeps his traditions returning each year. The film festival brings back some great films and panels.
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This film has 14 wins and 27 nominations on the film festival circuit.
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