Dido Elizabeth Belle is the mixed race daughter of Royal Navy officer Captain John Lindsay resulting from his affair with an African woman. Desperate for his only child to receive a comfortable upbringing, he takes her back to England and begs his uncle, Lord Mansfield, to take her in and care for her as their own. As much as she is treated well and enjoys the company of her cousin Lady Elizabeth Murray, she finds herself an outcast with no specified social status and disallowed from dining with her family on social occasions all because of her colour. While she is shunned by almost everybody, one man takes an interest in her; John Davinier, the apprentice of Lord Mansfield. However, both her great-uncle and John's parents are averse to the idea of their marriage - though their shocking love story forces Mansfield to re-think his own feelings about race and family.
'Belle' is a period drama loosely based on a true story, directed by Amma Asante ('A Way of Life') and written by Misan Sagay ('The Secret Laughter of Women'). It is inspired by a painting of Dido and her cousin from 1779 which was commissioned by Mansfield and hung in Kenwood House, London for many years. It made its premiere at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival and is set to hit cinemas on May 2nd 2014.
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