(2014) (Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Tom Wilkinson) (PG)
- QUICK TAKE:
- Drama: In the late 18th century, the illegitimate mixed-race daughter of a British naval officer falls in love with a vicar's son who is leading the charge for social change.
- In late 18th-century England, Belle (GUGU MBATHA-RAW) is the illegitimate daughter of a British Royal Navy officer, Sir Jon Lindsay (MATTHEW GOODE), who lives with his uncle and aunt, Lord Mansfield (TOM WILKINSON) and Lady Mansfield (EMILY WATSON). She grows up with her cousin, Elizabeth (SARAH GADON), her aunt Lady Mary Murray (PENELOPE WILTON), and is afforded all of the privileges of being part of the Mansfield family and estate -- except being allowed to dine with guests and be presented for marriage in British high society.
Belle is despondent and, at times, ashamed of her skin color and the limitations it puts on her. When her father dies at sea and leaves her with a sizable inheritance, though, she draws the eye of Oliver Ashford (JAMES NORTON); the greed of his mother, Lady Ashford (MIRANDA RICHARDSON); and the disdain of Oliver's brother, the openly bigoted James Ashford (TOM FELTON). Belle has the opportunity to marry Oliver, but she has fallen in love with a young legal student and the son of a vicar, John Davinier (SAM REID).
John has been currying favor with Belle's uncle, who is also the Lord Chief Justice of the British high court who is about to render his decision on a historic case involving a ship's crew that drowned its slaves en route to London after disease ran rampant among its African prisoners. Rather than show up in port with such "worthless property," John believes they killed them on purpose to collect the insurance money. He falls in love with Belle as he tries to convince her uncle to rule in favor of the insurance companies that are refusing to pay the bogus and immoral claim.
- WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
- Some older teens interested in world history may have some interest. Some "Harry Potter" fans might be drawn to it to see Tom Felton in a supporting role.
- WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG
- For thematic elements, some language, and brief smoking images.
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