The movie Belle debuted at the Dallas International Film Festival on April 13 at the Angelika Movie Theater. The theater was packed as everyone waited patiently to see the movie that is sweeping the film festival circuit! When Belle finally hits the theaters it will take you on an emotional rollercoaster as you watch the life the true life Dido Elizabeth Belle, the illegitimate mixed race daughter of Admiral Sir John Lindsay. Her mother was his lover, whom he was madly in love with and who unfortunately dies leaving Dido with an unknown caretaker until her father returns and takes her to his great-uncle Lord Mansfield and his wife home.
You don't learn much about Dido's father in the movie because he has to leave immediately and the family is stuck with what they call a playmate for their other illegitimate niece, Elizabeth. Despite Dido's, who they refuse to acknowledge as family lineage she is sent to the kitchen to eat and always sent away in the presence of company. It's not until a young determined son of a preacher who desire to be an attorney John Davinier tells Dido of her slave like treatment. This sparks interest in Dido and she begins to ask questions related to judicial matters including the murder of slaves aboard the slave ship, the Zong which put Europe in a financial tailspin and aided in the ending of slavery.
Dido's suppressed mistreatment by her own family was not noticeable by her family. They say it as rules and regulations of how to handle Black. They disregarded her in public although she was allowed to speak her mind freely and voice her concerns. She wasn't abused in anyway and Lord Mansfield took special care to ensure that she was protected at all costs even trying to make her keeper of the house upon her return from helping Elizabeth find a suitor, after her father refused to acknowledge her and leave her an inheritance. The odd thing is that Dido was an heiress and the her father's pride and joy.
If you're Black, this movie boils your blood to see how a Black woman with wealth and status could be treated so poorly by her family and even by the society she belonged to. She was called names and mocked for believing she belonged with pure Whites.
The best part of this story is watching Dido evolve into a young woman who becomes aware of who is she as a Black woman and the child of a slave. You cheer for her as she fights for true love and protests the treatment and injustices of the slaves who were massacred abroad the Zong. This is a great film for all ages to watch!
Thank you Dallas International Film Festival for another great fesitval!