Tag Archives: Lady Elizabeth Murray

Movie Review: Belle (2014)

I figured I should post a review, since I haven’t done that in a while, I don’t think. (Ahem, Disclaimer: Spoilers Ahead!) Anyway…, yesterday I watched the movie “Belle”:

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Because I’m a Disney dunderhead, I thought this was supposed to be a sort of retelling of “Beauty and the Beast”. I was wrong. I don’t know why they even titled it Belle, because, yes the title girl’s full name is Dido Elizabeth Belle Lindsay, but they call her Dido throughout the entire film. Were the makers of the movie worried that people would mispronounce the movie title if they had called it “Dido”? I don’t know. I just think they could have picked a better title. Seriously, the title “Belle” is really confusing. At least, I think so.

Regardless, I found the film captivating. It covered issues that were present at the time, such as slavery of blacks in Britain, the difficulties of Dido growing up as a mulato English heiress (due to her white father, a Royal Navy officer, leaving her his pension after his death), and the struggles of aristocracy for a black woman in English society.

For example, Dido was seen as enough of an equal to dine with her white family in private (she lives with her great-uncle (the Lord Chief Justice and the 1st Earl of Mansfield, William Murray and aunt Elizabeth, and her cousin, Lady Elizabeth (Bet) Murray. (Quick backstory as to how Dido came to live with them: Dido’s father had to go off on a naval excursion to the Indies and left her in the care of his uncle and aunt. Bet is the daughter of William and Elizabeth’s nephew, who later in life becomes the 2nd Earl of Mansfield (although that is not covered in the movie) and sent to live with her uncle and aunt. She is already living there with them when Dido is brought in.)), however, when there are guests attending meals at the house, she must eat separately from her family, but could not dine with the servants, due to social protocol, so says her uncle. There is a quote in the movie where Dido asks (more or less like so): “How can I be ranked low enough that I cannot eat meals with my family and our guests, but ranked too high to dine with the servants?”.

Anyway, it’s a great period-piece in my opinion and you should watch it. If anything at all but for to watch it as a purely historical standpoint. Also, need I mention that Tom Felton is in it? He plays James Ashford. That’s right, Draco Malfoy plays the son of an English Lord in this movie:

largeAnd, for any “Doctor Who” fans out there, Penelope Wilton plays Lady Mary Murray, the spinster sister of William Murray, I believe:

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Well, there you have it. My review is that you should watch this movie. It’s fantastic, dramatic, lovely, and all-around interesting. Watch it!

Look for my words again soon!

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