Following the success of Downtown Abbey – period dramas are very popular at the moment.
The lead actress Gugu Mbatha Raw is half South African. Her mother is British and her father was from South Africa.
The film was inspired by a true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle the illegitimate mixed race girl. Raised by her aristocratic uncle Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson) and his wife (Emily Watson), Belle’s lineage affords her certain privileges, yet the fact that she is not white prevents her from taking part in the traditions of her social standing. Belle falls in love with an idealistic young vicar’s son bent on change who, with her assistance, shapes Lord Mansfield’s role as Lord Chief Justice to end slavery in UK.