"Belle" is a film that causes us to question our morality and illustrates just how far society has advanced...and yet how far we have to go. As always, Tom Felton plays the 'bad guy' we all love to hate. He is James Ashford, the heir to a great fortune and a suitor to Dido's half-cousin Elizabeth. He is the physical manifestation of 17th century Britain's racism and misogyny; cruel and cold-hearted. On the whole, Felton was fairly unimpressive in this role. He did not successfully command our sympathy for his moral blindness as was intended by Asante.
On the whole, Asante's "Belle" is a moving, heart-warming film that sends viewers back in time to the turning point in slavery's history. It has been described as the British version of "12 Years A Slave" and certainly packs a similar moral punch. Full to the brim with emotion and moral dilemmas, it connects with the audience and is incredibly moving. Taking a box of tissues is advised.
I give this film 4 out of 5 stars.