BELLE, Book And Movie

On Entertainment Weekly‘s “Must List” in the new issue, the movie Belle, opening in NY and LAs tomorrow, and expanding into more theaters through May and June, is described as, “More emotional and affecting than your typical costume drama, this story about the orphan child of an English aristocrat and a slave unfolds beautifully.” The review goes on to make some intriguing comparisons, “like a Jane Austen novel spiked with an extra shot of social conscience … like Downton Abbey but with corsets, culottes and tricorn hats, Belle subtly skewers the absurd rules and hypocrisies of class.” (official web site, with trailer, here).

Based on a true story, it is directed by black female British director Amma Asante, who, keenly aware of how difficult it is to break into the film business, has insisted on diversity both in front of and behind the camera.

The lead actress is widely regarded as on the verge of a major career, with Entertainment Tonight, declaring, “Soon Everyone Will Be Talking About Gugu Mbatha-Raw.”

The tie-in is a an original paperback:

BelleBelle: The Slave Daughter and the Lord Chief Justice
Paula Byrne
Harper Perennial;  April 29, 2014
9780062310774, 0062310771
Paperback / softback
$14.99 USD / $18.50 CAD

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