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Parents' Guide to


By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 11+

Important, affecting, engrossing drama for tweens and up.

Movie PG 2014 103 minutes
Belle Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 10 parent reviews

age 11+

Light movie with strong and important message

I think this movie is really special, it's so light that there is no need of nudity. Yet it has a very strong message about racial descrimination, slavery and history. Because of this I searched history of Belle and loved all about her bio! The painting is also very fantastic! Seriously, no nudity, just one kiss that doesn't have any malice. It's very light, you wont sleep with headache, cuz it's not a heavy drama - instead it's history, fact, truth. Me, 23, my mother, and my brother - 11 watched this. We all liked it!

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
1 person found this helpful.
age 11+

One Scene of Minor Abuse & Racism

Age rating mostly because the concepts in the movie may be hard to understand for young children. And there is some physical abuse to the main character. Characters are racist towards Belle, but this is important to the plot. She is strong and independent and speaks her mind despite being rejected as a woman and a “mulatto”. A man helps her change her circumstances.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (10 ):
Kids say (2 ):

BELLE is an important, engrossing, and incredibly affecting movie. It sheds light on a story -- based on true events though fictionalized to a degree here -- that could have languished in history books and dissertations if not for director Amma Asante and lead actress Mbatha-Raw, who've turned it into cinematic reality. It's complicated in the best way; viewers will find themselves mulling over the issues of race, class, and gender equality long after viewing. In scene after scene, Asante unpacks the layers of prejudice and oppression that cloaked British society in the late 1700s. And though Dido lived hundreds of years ago, her struggles to define her identity and fight discrimination, in thought, speech, and actions, are still relevant in today's world.

Though it helps that screenwriter Misan Sagay sometimes takes great pains to ensure that viewers understand what's at stake here -- that the decision Lord Mansfield is about to hand down could be the first major step in abolishing British slave trade -- there may be a few too many turns in the script. The connection that needs to be emphasized is complicated and very significant, true, but the dialogue is a trifle too pointed, with the significance repeated many times, which doesn't let viewers connect the clear dots themselves. The writing also sometimes sacrifices wit for instruction. But the good far outweighs the (trifling) bad, especially when it comes to the outstanding ensemble of the cast. Wilkinson and Watson are superb as Lord and Lady Mansfield, renegades in their own right, and Mbatha-Raw approaches her role with great care and delicacy. She and Gadon are delightful to watch together, as is the entire movie.

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