In "Belle," Captain Sir John Lindsay (Matthew Goode) finds his illegitimate daughter living in poverty and takes her to live with his uncle, William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson). While Lady Mansfield (Emily Watson) isn't too keen on inviting the girl into their home, they all agree that the girl deserves this life as she is blood. They name her Dido Elizabeth Belle (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and raise her alongside their other niece Lady Elizabeth Murray (Sarah Gadon).
But having a black child in the house makes things difficult. She is not treated as an equal but is treated better than the house slaves and is not presented for marriage like Elizabeth but is still considered part of the family. This makes it especially difficult for Dido to learn her place in the world, which still looks down upon those of color. So when Dido has a choice of husbands, between one who is, as Lord Mansfield puts it, is on her level in Oliver Ashford (James Norton) and someone who accepts her but is not of their rank in John Davinier (Sam Reid), Dido is especially torn. This also puts a strain on Lord Mansfield who as Lord Chief Justice is presiding over a slavery case that could advance abolition forever.
"Belle" is just one of several spring 2014 films worth seeing as is "Walk of Shame," "The Amazing Spider-Man 2," "Locke," "Brick Mansions," "The Other Woman," "Transcendence," "A Haunted House 2," "Heaven is for Real," "Draft Day," "Under the Skin," "Dom Hemingway," "Joe," "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," "Sabotage," "Noah," "Blood Ties," the "Veronica Mars" movie, "Need for Speed."
Laws That Allow Us to Diminish the Humanity
John Danvier: "Laws that allow us to diminish the humanity of anybody are not laws."John Danvier speaks in court on the slavery case being heard by Lord Mansfield. John is trying to make slavery illegal and that puts Lord Mansfield in a delicate position.
What Is Right Can Never Be Impossible
Captain Sir John Lindsay: "Do not be afraid. I am here to take you to a good life, the life that you were born to."
Captain Sir John Lindsay: "I beg you, uncle. Love her as I would were I here and in sure that she is in receipt of all that is due to her as a child of mine."
Lord Mansfield: "Do you have in mind my position?"
Lady Mansfield: "That is simply impossible."
Captain Sir John Lindsay: "What is right can never be impossible."
Lady Mansfield: "What shall she be named?"
Captain Sir John Lindsay: "Dido Belle Lindsay"
Lord Mansfield: "She takes your name?"
Captain Sir John Lindsay: "I am not ashamed."
Lady Mansfield: "We will call her Dido."
You Break Every Rule When It Matters Enough
Lord Mansfield: "You would risk your position for a man without name?"
Dido Elizabeth Belle: "He speaks a voice for people who do not have one."
Lord Mansfield: "There are rules in place which dictate how we live."
Dido Elizabeth Belle: "You break every rule when it matters enough, papa. I am the evidence."
Dido and Lord Mansfield argue over Dido's choice between marrying into a family with the prominence as theirs or marrying a lawyer who he considers beneath her. As she points out, like he did, sometimes she needs to break the rules.
Do You Love Her?
Lady Mansfield: "Do you love her?"
Lord Mansfield: "As though she were created of you and me."