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"BELLE"
(2021) (voices of Kaho Nakamura, Takeru Satoh) (PG)


At-A-Glace Content Summary

Alcohol/Drugs Minor
Blood/Gross Stuff Mild
Disrespectful/Bad Attitude Extreme
Frightening/Tense Scenes Heavy
Gun/Weapons Mild
Imitative Behavior Moderate
Jump Scenes Minor
Music (Scary/Tense) Moderate
Music (Inappropriate) None
Profanity Minor
Sex/Nudity Mild
Smoking None
Tense Family Scenes Extreme
Topics to Talk About Extreme
Violence Moderate


NOTE:
The following review is from the English subtitled version of the film. We do not know if any changes have been made to the English dubbed version that will also be available.
QUICK TAKE:
Animated Drama: A shy girl anonymously finds freedom and massive popularity along with a mysterious figure in a popular virtual world.
PLOT:

Suzu (KAHO NAKAMURA) is a shy teenager who lives in Japan with her father but has never fully overcome the heroic death of her mother years earlier. She has a friend in computer whiz Hiroka (LILAS IKUTA) and secretly longs for Shinobu (RYO NARITA) who befriended her after her mother's passing, but is the polar opposite of Ruka (TINA TAMASHIRO), the most popular girl at their school.

Suzu gets a chance to start anew, at least in the world of U, a virtual community boasting five billion users where everyone exists anonymously with an avatar created from biofeedback. Her name is Bell, soon renamed as Belle, thanks to her beauty and glorious singing voice that garners her millions of followers. But it also creates haters as well as others who want to discover Belle's identity in the real world.

At the same time, a mysterious beastly figure known as Dragon (TAKERU SATOH) appears and draws some of the attention away from Belle, including from the virtual world's authorities known as Justices and their leader, Justin (TOSHIYUKI MORIKAWA). Just as they try to figure out who he is in the real world, Suzu similarly wants to know who this tortured avatar belongs to. And thus, she and Hiroka set out to solve that mystery, a move that puts Suzu's virtual popularity at risk.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
They might if they're into anime or adaptations of the old Beauty and the Beast story.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG
For thematic content, violence, language and brief suggestive material.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • KAHO NAKAMURA voices Suzu, a shy and mostly depressed Japanese teen who hasn't been the same since her mother's heroic death years ago. She wants no attention, but gets that -- anonymously -- when she enters a virtual world and her avatar achieves superstardom. She must not only contend with that -- and the accompanying highs and lows of such fame -- but also a mysterious stranger who she sets out to help.
  • TAKERU SATOH voices Dragon, that figure who shows up in the virtual world and is constantly chased by the "police" there, simply for appearing dangerous (he does fight them off, but only in self-defense). He's basically the Beast from Beauty and the Beast, with his virtual world avatar both hiding his identity and representing his inner rage toward his dire real-world situation.
  • LILAS IKUTA voices Hiroka, Suzu's brainy friend who encourages her to join the U virtual world and then helps her track down Dragon.
  • RYO NARITA voices Shinobu, a young man who befriended Suzu back in her time of need years ago (following her mom's death) and continues to be concerned about Suzu's well-being.
  • TOSHIYUKI MORIKAWA voices Justin, the leader of the policing unit inside U who wants to uncover and reveal Dragon's real personality. He briefly gets violent with Belle and uses some minor profanity.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:

    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this animated drama that's been rated PG. Profanity consists of a handful of minor expletives while some colorful phrases are also uttered. Some suggestive dialogue is briefly present, while a few women are seen in bras (with some cleavage) in non-sexual situations.

    Violence includes both non-realistic, action-based fighting in a virtual world, as well as an abusive father in the real world getting physical with his boys and with a teenage girl who tries to protect them (resulting in him scratching her face, with bloody results). Those and other bad attitudes (including online bullying) are present, along with tense family material (beyond that abuse, there's also material related to a girl still reeling from her mom's heroic death in the past). Various thematic elements/topics to talk about (including loss, abuse, bullying, etc.) are present, as is some potentially imitative behavior.

    There may be brief drinking at a partying involving teens, but there's no indication either way whether that's alcoholic or not. There's a brief vomiting scene.

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there's some fluid and sometimes fast-moving camera work.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Some teens are seen partying, but there's no indication either way whether what they're drinking is alcoholic or not.
  • BLOOD/GROSS STUFF
  • Suzu vomits into a river.
  • We see a male baseball player shirtless, showing various old surgical scars on his torso.
  • Suzu tries to protect that man's boys from harm, and he yanks back hard on Suzu, accidentally cutting her face (with bloody results).
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Hiroka somewhat meanly jokes that Suzu is on the far side of the moon in terms of being noticed by others.
  • Other user avatars mock Suzu's Belle avatar, including for having freckles.
  • A person refers to Suzu/Belle as a "mousy country bumpkin."
  • It's revealed that a woman has been lying about her entire existence.
  • Various users lie about knowing Dragon personally.
  • Others are upset upon thinking Suzu and Shinobu are romantically holding hands.
  • Various Justices hit Dragon as he flies Belle away to safety, during which he bashes into a building, but he and Belle are okay.
  • Justin grabs Belle's head and aims his identity revealer device at her face, threatening to use it if she doesn't give up info on Dragon.
  • In various scenes, and despite his attempts, Suzu won't talk to or interact with her dad.
  • Various Justices enter Dragon's castle carrying club-like weapons and ransack the place, leaving various sprite-like characters injured (the impact to them is not seen). The Justices then set fire to the castle.
  • A father is upset with his youngest son and says that if the boy can't follow his rules, he's no good to him. He tells the boy that he's worthless to him and to disappear, and angrily swipes a vase of roses to the floor. He raises his fist to punch the boy, but his older brother (who's 14) intervenes and protects his sibling.
  • That same father later pushes his sons aside.
  • Suzu tries to protect that man's boys from harm, and he yanks back hard on Suzu, accidentally cutting her face (with bloody results). He then raises his fist to punch her, but she stands her ground, causing him to have an emotional breakdown, collapse, and then run off.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • We see a flashback to Suzu and her mom, followed by the latter wading into a fast-moving river to save a girl, which frightens Suzu. When that child is pulled out wearing the mom's life vest, young Suzu knows her mother is gone.
  • Belle ends up finding Dragon's castle, goes inside, and encounters the angry beast who warns her to leave or else he'll bite off her head.
  • Justin grabs Belle's head and aims his identity revealer device at her face, threatening to use it if she doesn't give up info on Dragon.
  • Various Justices enter Dragon's castle carrying club-like weapons and ransack the place, leaving various sprite-like characters injured (the impact to them is not seen). The Justices then set fire to the castle.
  • A father is upset with his youngest son and says that if the boy can't follow his rules, he's no good to him. He tells the boy that he's worthless to him and to disappear, and angrily swipes a vase of roses to the floor. He raises his fist to punch the boy, but his older brother (who's 14) intervenes and protects his sibling.
  • That same father later pushes his sons aside.
  • Suzu tries to protect that man's boys from harm, and he yanks back hard on Suzu, accidentally cutting her face (with bloody results). He then raises his fist to punch her, but she stands her ground, causing him to have an emotional breakdown, collapse, and then run off.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • There's a chase scene where several Justices pursue Dragon through the air, with the latter hitting many of them. During this, Justin fires identity reveal beams at Dragon, but misses. Moments later, Dragon hits others with a steel beam of sorts.
  • Justin grabs Belle's head and aims his identity revealer device at her face, threatening to use it if she doesn't give up info on Dragon.
  • Various Justices enter Dragon's castle carrying club-like weapons and ransack the place, leaving various sprite-like characters injured (the impact to them is not seen). The Justices then set fire to the castle.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "She's trying to sell her sex appeal," "A sexy bombshell," "Shut up (loser)," "Mousy country bumpkin," "Jeez," "Leave, or I'll bite your head off," "All hell broke loose," "Sucked," "You idiot," "What a scumbag," "Damn it," "You're creeping me out," "Screw you" and "Damn you little brat."
  • Some kids might imitate the online bullying that occurs in the film.
  • We see a shirtless male artist who sports various tattoos.
  • Various users lie about knowing Dragon personally.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • Suzu tries to protect a man's boys from him, and he yanks back hard on Suzu, accidentally cutting her face (with bloody results).
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A moderate amount of suspenseful and heavily dramatic music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 4 damns and 1 hell.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We see Suzu in a bathtub, but nothing explicit is seen.
  • About Belle, an anonymous user states she's trying to sell her sex appeal.
  • We briefly see a woman in her sports bra showing some cleavage.
  • We see a shirtless male artist who sports various tattoos.
  • We see a few women in their bras, some of which show cleavage.
  • A comment is made about a "sexy bombshell."
  • We see a male baseball player shirtless, showing various old surgical scars on his torso.
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We see a montage of Suzu's good memories of her mom, followed by the latter wading into a fast-moving river to save a girl, which frightens Suzu. When that child is pulled out wearing the mom's life vest, young Suzu knows her mother is gone. She reacts in shock and grief and is later seen depressed in the present.
  • In various scenes, and despite his attempts, Suzu won't talk to or interact with her dad.
  • A father is upset with his youngest son and says that if the boy can't follow his rules, he's no good to him. He tells the boy that he's worthless to him and to disappear, and angrily swipes a vase of roses to the floor. He raises his fist to punch the boy, but his older brother (who's 14) intervenes and protects his sibling.
  • That same father later pushes his sons aside.
  • Suzu tries to protect that man's boys from harm, and he yanks back hard on Suzu, accidentally cutting her face (with bloody results). He then raises his fist to punch her, but she stands her ground, causing him to have an emotional breakdown, collapse, and then run off.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Losing a parent at a young age.
  • Virtual worlds and those who enjoy or escape into them to get away from reality.
  • Reacting to negative online comments about you and related bullying.
  • It's revealed that a woman has been lying about her entire existence.
  • In various scenes, and despite his attempts, Suzu won't talk to or interact with her dad.
  • Child abuse, particularly at the hands of a parent.
  • VIOLENCE
  • There's a chase scene where several Justices pursue Dragon through the air, with the latter hitting many of them. During this, Justin fires identity reveal beams at Dragon, but misses. Moments later, Dragon hits others with a steel beam of sorts.
  • Various Justices hit Dragon as he flies Belle away to safety, during which he bashes into a building, but he and Belle are okay.
  • Justin grabs Belle's head and aims his identity revealer device at her face, threatening to use it if she doesn't give up info on Dragon.
  • Various Justices enter Dragon's castle carrying club-like weapons and ransack the place, leaving various sprite-like characters injured (the impact to them is not seen). The Justices then set fire to the castle.
  • A father is upset with his youngest son and says that if the boy can't follow his rules, he's no good to him. He tells the boy that he's worthless to him and to disappear, and angrily swipes a vase of roses to the floor. He raises his fist to punch the boy, but his older brother (who's 14) intervenes and protects his sibling.
  • That same father later pushes his sons aside.
  • Suzu tries to protect that man's boys from harm, and he yanks back hard on Suzu, accidentally cutting her face (with bloody results). He then raises his fist to punch her, but she stands her ground, causing him to have an emotional breakdown, collapse, and then run off.



  • Reviewed January 11, 2022 / Posted January 14, 2022

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