Belle Movie Essay

Submitted By mnutt2
Words: 1214
Pages: 5

Movie Analysis
Movie Title: Belle
By: Misty Knight

In my opinion Damian Jones produced the movie Belle to tell the story behind the 1779 portrait of Dido Elizabeth Belle Lindsay and her cousin Lady Elizabeth Murray. The movie has some true historical scenes as well as some fictional scenes. The intent of this movie could be to show how the decision of one person could lead to great things. In this case the decision that William Murray made at the Court of Kings’ Bench in 1786 on the Zong Massacre set the way for the abolition of slavery in Britain. In the movie Belle the main character Dido Lindsay, is biracial. Her mother was an African slave and her father, Captain Sir John Lindsay, a British Naval officer. Dido was not only biracial but illegitimate as well. Both were greatly frowned upon in the late 1700’s. There were two subordinate groups that I identified in this movie. The first one would be the racial group referred to as “the blacks or negro” in this film. Dido was the only character of African American decent that was not a slave. The black slaves were not thought of as equals. They were seen as barbaric and not worthy of being an equal to the dominate group, the white people. The second subordinate group I identified within this film would be a gender group, the women of this time period. Women were looked upon as less importance than men. The dominate group to the women would be the men. They were subservient to the men and a woman’s purpose was thought to be to serve her man. There are several references in the movie that a woman will be of lesser social value without a husband. Men have a greater social role than women and the women seem only to of importance as her husband or male figures in society see fit. Even though Dido was biracial she had several white privileges given to her that were not given to others that were black. She was considered to be financially stable since her father left her 2000 pounds per year after he died. Her aunt viewed this as the one thing that would keep her in the higher ranks of society since they thought no man would take her hand in marriage because she was biracial. She was not treated like a slave in the movie, although she was not treated completely equal to her white family. Being biracial Belle was able to see how being white afforded her privileges that the black people did not have. She also was able to see how being black condemned her as never truly being accepted within society as an equal to the white people. This must have been a terrible burden to carry. To see others of your race being given endless privileges yet others of the other part of your race being treated as animals. That is not something I could be able to handle as well as she did. There were many social stratification injustices toward Dido in this film. Dido’s family had a high ranking within the social class. They had money, power and the privileges that came with it. Yet when her cousin Lady Elizabeth Murray was to go to London for her coming out to society, Dido was not to go with her initially, instead she was offered the position of the Lady of the House. This was offered to her because her family thought no man would consider taking her as a wife because she was biracial. During dinner Dido was not permitted to eat with her family because she was seen as black. There was the stereotype of blacks being unequal to white people, therefore it would not be proper for her to sit with them at dinner. I believe the stereotypes seen in this movie helped the purpose of the movie. By the end of the movie her family viewed her as an equal to them. This goes along with what I think the purpose of the movie is to get people to see that everyone is and should be treated equal. I selected the functional perspective theory for this movie. As stated in the text book, racist beliefs discourage subordinate groups from attempting to question their lowly status. Dido