Consumables #106 Watching: Belle

Ruffles, powdered wigs, whispered conversations behind fluttery fans, do ya feel me? Whoo doggy I am a sucker for a costume drama! Bring on the bodices and petticoats! I watched Belle the other night, the story (based on a real historical figure) of Dido Elizabeth Belle. It’s 18th century England and she’s been born to a white father with means and a black mother without. I think her mother was a slave, but the mom’s bucket was kicked from the get go so you never see her. In fact the whole parental slave topic was referred to somewhat, but exactly what was happening between Daddy Whitebucks and Mommy was kept conveniently murky, which was a little annoying. It was like blah blah blah mom slave dead BUT ANYWAY HER DAD IS COOL SO LOOK OVER HERE AND DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT. But, once you get past that fuzziness, the rest of the film is pretty dang good. You have got many things that I will sign up for such as: Tom Wilkinson being all blustery and British, Tom Felton giving old timey Malfoy face (I swear that dude was a heartbeat away from calling Belle a mudblood in every scene), Mrs. Crawley from Downton Abbey mincing around, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw just blasting her gorgeousness everywhere over the top of all of it. It’s got all the Jane Austeny themes of love and money and marriage and gender and class, with the added element of race. I’m not going to lie, the biggest reason I liked this movie is because I love a period drama/romance like this so so much, and to see a woman of color as the heroine in one just fills me with a little spark of joy. Next time you have a hankering to see dudes in white kneesocks and silky knickers courting ladies with bosomy necklines, give Belle a try.

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