BELLE is inspired by the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle (Gugu Mabatha-Raw), the illegitimate mixed race daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral. Raised by her aristocratic great-uncle Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson) and his wife (Emily Watson), Belleas lineage affords her certain privileges, yet the color of her skin prevents her from fully participating in the traditions of her social standing. Left to wonder if she will ever find love, Belle falls for an idealistic young vicaras son bent on change who, with her help, shapes Lord Mansfieldas role as Lord Chief Justice to end slavery in England.

  • 1 hr 43 minPGHDSD
  • May 2, 2014
  • Drama

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Cast & Crew

  • Gugu Mbatha-RawActor

    Gugu Mbatha-Raw was born Gugulethu Sophia Mbatha in the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, England. Her father, Patrick Mbatha, is a Black South African doctor, and her mother, Anne Raw, is a Caucasian English nurse. Her parents separated when she was a year old, and she was brought up by her mother in the town of Witney, Oxfordshire (she is still close to her father). She joined the local acting group Dramascope and, from the age of eleven, appeared in the pantomime at Oxford Playhouse every year. A talented singer and dancer as well as playing the saxophone, she joined the Oxford Youth Music Theatre in her teens. In 2001, she won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London. Since graduation in 2004, she has appeared in all media, including as an acclaimed Juliet Capulet in "Romeo and Juliet" at Manchester's Royal Exchange Theatre in 2005, opposite Andrew Garfield as Romeo Montague. Mbatha-Raw was nominated for Best Actress in the Manchester Evening News Theatre Awards for her portrayal of Juliet Capulet. She also appeared as Octavia in "Antony and Cleopatra" at the same theatre in 2005. In 2009, she was cast as Ophelia in "Hamlet" on London's West End and Broadway, opposite Jude Law as the title role. Mbatha-Raw appeared on such varied television series as Bad Girls (1999), Doctor Who (2005), Agatha Christie's Marple (2004) and Touch (2012). She had a supporting role in the romantic comedy Larry Crowne (2011), written and directed by Tom Hanks, who also played the title role. She was acclaimed for her performance of Dido Elizabeth Belle in Amma Asante's Belle (2013), which earned her a British Independent Film Award for Best Actress, and a nomination as Most Promising Newcomer. She was also nominated for a Satellite Award for Best Actress. She starred in the romantic drama Beyond the Lights (2014) and was nominated for a Gotham Award for Best Actress for her performance. In 2015, she was nominated for a BAFTA Rising Star Award. That same year, she had a supporting role in Jupiter Ascending (2015), played Prema Mutiso, the wife of Dr. Bennet Omalu (played by Will Smith) in the biopic Concussion (2015), and the title role in Jessica Swale's play "Nell Gwynn", playing the actress who became the mistress of King Charles II of England. She was nominated for an Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Actress for her performance in the play. She played Rachel in Newton Knight's biopic Free State of Jones (2016), directed by Gary Ross, playing Knight's common-law wife, a freedwoman he had a family with after the Civil War. She also played Esme Manucharian in Miss Sloane (2016), Sophie on Netflix's series Easy (2016), and played Kelly, one of the leads in "San Junipero", the fourth episode of Season 3 of Black Mirror (2011). Her other films are the live-action remake Beauty and the Beast (2017), playing Plumette, A Wrinkle in Time (2018), directed by Ava DuVernay, and The Cloverfield Paradox (2018). Gugu Mbatha-Raw was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) by Queen Elizabeth II in the 2017 Birthday Honours for her services to drama.
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  • DAVID GANTActor

  • Emily WatsonActor

    Emily Watson was born and raised in London, the daughter of Katharine (Venables), an English teacher, and Richard Watson, an architect. After a self-described sheltered upbringing, Watson attended university for three years in Bristol, studying English literature. She applied to drama school and was rejected on her first attempt. After three years of working in clerical and waitress jobs she was finally accepted. In 1992, she took a position with the Royal Shakespeare Company where she met her future husband, Jack Waters. Continuing stage work, Watson landed her first screen role as Bess McNeill in Breaking the Waves (1996) after Helena Bonham Carter pulled out of the role. For this initial foray into movies, Watson was nominated for an Academy Award. She continued to gain success in Britain in the leading roles in Metroland (1997) and The Mill on the Floss (1997), but her first popular film in the United States came in 1997 when she played Daniel Day-Lewis's long-suffering love interest in The Boxer (1997). In the next two years she won critical acclaim for her portrayal of cellist Jacqueline du Pré in Hilary and Jackie (1998) and landed a small part in the ensemble cast of Tim Robbins's Cradle Will Rock (1999). Critical acclaim and North American success came together for Watson in 1999 with the release of Angela's Ashes (1999), the film adaptation of Frank McCourt's bestselling book of the same name. She achieved top billing as Angela McCourt, the hardworking mother of several children and wife of a drunken husband in depression-era Ireland. After less-celebrated roles in 2000's Trixie (2000) and The Luzhin Defence (2000), Watson again returned to an ensemble cast in Robert Altman's Gosford Park (2001). Watson's status as a leading actress in major Hollywood productions was cemented in 2002 with her roles in Red Dragon (2002), the third installment of Thomas Harris' Hannibal Lechter series; the futuristic Equilibrium (2002); and, most notably, in Paul Thomas Anderson's Punch-Drunk Love (2002), playing opposite Adam Sandler. While returning to the stage in 2002 and 2003 on both sides of the Atlantic, Watson has expressed interest in again working with Anderson. Emily Watson lives in London, England, UK, with her husband, Jack Waters.
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  • Matthew GoodeActor

  • MIRANDA RICHARDSONActor

    Miranda Richardson was born in Southport, Lancashire, England on March 3, 1958, to Marian Georgina (Townsend) and William Alan Richardson, a marketing executive. She has one sister, eight years her senior. Her parents and sister are not involved in the performing arts. At an early age she performed in school plays, having shown a talent and desire to "turn herself into" other people. She has referred to it as "an emotional fusion; you think yourself into them". This mimicry could be of school friends or film stars. She left school (Southport High School for Girls) at the age of 17, and originally intended becoming a vet. She also considered studying English literature in college, but decided to concentrate on drama and enrolled at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School (as did many well-known British actors). After three years she graduated and moved into repertory theatre. She became affiliated with the Library Theatre in Manchester in 1979, where she became an assistant stage manager. She obtained her Equity card, and after several regional productions, first appeared on the London stage (Moving at Queens Theatre) in 1981. British television roles soon followed, and then film. Since then, Miranda has moved into the international arena, and has made films in America, France and Spain. Television work (on both sides of the Atlantic) continues, as does some stage work. Her roles are diverse, but powerful and engaging. She has been quoted as stating "what I basically like is doing things I haven't done before" and this continually comes through in the variety of roles she has played in her career. She is also selective in the roles she takes, being uninterested in performing in the standard Hollywood fare, and preferring more offbeat roles. She was approached to play the Glenn Close role in Fatal Attraction (1987), but found it "regressive in its attitudes". Her attitude is summed up by a quote from an interview that appeared in the New York Times (Dec 27 1992): "I would rather do many small roles on TV, stage or film than one blockbuster that made me rich but had no acting. And if that's the choice I have to make, I think I've already made it". According to "1994 Current Biography Yearbook", she resides in South London with her two Siamese cats, Otis and Waldo. She has now moved to West London. Her hobbies include drawing, walking, gardening, fashion, falconry, and music. She, by her own admission, is a loner and lives rather modestly. An actor who studied with Ms Richardson at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre in the late 1970s described her as "a strong minded, specially gifted, rather pretty young woman who enjoys wearing jewelry. She wore toe rings, which in the late 1970s and especially in England, were a rarity and considered rather racy." He also remarked on her drive, even then, to be an actress of the highest caliber.
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  • Penelope WiltonActor

    Penelope Wilton was born on June 3, 1946 in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, England as Penelope Alice Wilton. She is an actress, known for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011), Shaun of the Dead (2004) and Match Point (2005). She was previously married to Ian Holm and Daniel Massey.
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