She’s the Man

She's the ManAmanda Bynes, before she seemed to follow the path of Lindsay Lohan, was one of my favorite actresses and her movies always made me believe that normal people could have extraordinary things happen to them in their lives.

Like getting to make out with Channing Tatum.

She's the Man 4She’s the Man is a hilarious movie with a true and powerful moral, just because you’re a “girl” doesn’t mean you can’t play with the big boys. When Viola Hastings learns that the girls’ soccer team will be cut she decides to try out for the boy’s team, only to be flatly refused by the sexist coach. To add insult to injury her boyfriend, Justin (Robert Hoffman), recants on all of the things he told her about how good she She's the Man 1was (including that she was better than half of the boy’s on their team), Viola comes up with the logical plan of taking on her twin brother’s identity. This is made possible, initially, because Sebastian (James Kirk) is already playing on their parent’s divorce to go to London for a music contest and asks her to pretend to be mom and say he’s sick. Viola’s plan is far more entertaining of course, so she enlists the aid of her stylist, Paul (Jonathan Sadowski) and goes to Illyria as Sebastian.

She's the Man 2It is here that Viola, as Sebastian, meets Duke Orsino (Channing Tatum) and his friends Toby (Brandon Jay McLaren) and Andrew (Clifton Murray) who are all on the soccer team. On her first day as Sebastian, she also meets the beautiful, perfect, and intelligent Olivia (Laura Ramsay). With a few more characters, as such as the bitchy Monique (Alex Breckenridge) and the awkward Eunice (Emily Perkins) we can now officially enter the love dodecahedron. And this is one that could give Degrassi a run for it’s money.

She's the Man 5Viola likes Duke who thinks she’s Sebastian, so he’s crushing hard on Olivia who is in love (or something) with Sebastian who is really Olivia who is trying to avoid Monique who is Sebastian’s (the real one) ex-girlfriend and so Viola (as Sebastian) must avoid Olivia’s affections because she wants to be on the soccer team but she (Viola) is now crushing hard on Duke who thinks she’s Sebastian. There. Did that all make sense?

On top of the twin switch, Viola must contend with her mother and her strange obsession with ignoring everything that Viola actually loves to do in favor of debutant brunches and cotillions. Viola must meet all of her commitments as Viola while still trying to prove that she is more than capable of being on the boy’s team at Illyria.

She's the Man 6Throw in a couple of fights and you have yourself an entertaining evening. This is a comedy of epic proportions that makes me absolutely hope that Amanda Bynes goes back into acting, she’s good at it and she should never stop doing it.

John Tucker Must Die

John Tucker Must Die 5Every once in a while there comes a movie that is timeless, no matter how many things in the film that can date it. This is one of those movies that is really just a feel good time, the kind of movie that you can enjoy without feeling guilty about it. That’s right, it’s a movie about women standing up for themselves and fighting back against the patriarchy in a hilariously over the top manner. What adds to this is that it effortlessly passes the Bechdel Test once the gals realize they don’t just need to argue over the all important man in the cast. And considering the subject matter, this is a feat in and of itself.

John Tucker Must Die 3John Tucker Must Die is a hilarious extravaganza starring Brittany Snow as Kate Spencer who has grown so used to her mother’s way of doing things that she calls all of the men her mother Lori, played by Jenny McCarthy, dates by the apt nickname of “Skip.” They look at her weirdly until they end up skipping out on Lori, prompting her to eat an entire tub of ice cream and move them to a new city. This, unfortunately, has left Kate with almost no presence in life, nobody notices her, talks to her, or takes the time to befriend her and she does her best to stay in the background, knowing that just around the corner is another Skip.

John Tucker Must Die 1Of course, this being a movie, her life takes a definite abrupt turn when they move to the suburbs in Portland, Oregon. Kate, now a senior, is thrown into a “tousle” when three young women in her school realize that they are all “dating” John Tucker (Jesse Metcalfe). The ladies in question are head cheerleader Heather Straham (Ashanti of music fame), pot-John Tucker Must Dieenthused animal rights activist Beth McIntyre (Sophia Bush of One Tree Hill), and the overactive school ASB President (Possibly, who knows she’s involved in literally everything) Carrie Schaeffer (Arielle Kebbel of The Vampire Diaries). John Tucker’s MO is to date hot women from different cliques so that they never even suspect that they’re being cheated on, because there’s almost no way in hell that they’ll ever speak to each other. This, also being a movie, takes the plot and tosses it into a great big ball of fire when John Tucker accidentally gives one of the gym teachers a heart attack with his hot kindness and the three gals, and Kate, are put into the same gym class, discover the truth, and get themselves (and Kate) thrown into detention.

John Tucker Must Die 2Enter The Other Tucker, Scott (Penn Badgley of GOSSIP GIRL!) who displays actual interest in Kate and shares some of her hobbies and likes. However, when the three lovely ladies enter the scene the movie is thrown into a cyclone of puns, plots, and phony romance as Kate accidentally tells them to get even with John Tucker for how he’s treated them. They John Tucker Must Die 6take Kate’s idea and run with it, first attempting to do this themselves with cheap plots and tricks involving estrogen and a photo shoot for herpes only result in making him more popular than ever and he eventually breaks up with all three of them.

John Tucker Must Die 4This prompts them to take drastic maneuvers against John Tucker and they deploy Kate to make him do the one thing he has never done before; fall in love.

John Tucker Must Die is one of my all-time favorite movies, featuring a cast of likeable actors and some zany schemes. It’s funny, entertaining, and includes a great moral at the end (which John may have missed the mark on). In the end, this is a movie that I assure you will enjoy if you haven’t seen it, and you’ll enjoy it if you’re watching it again. So sit back, pop that corn, crack the cola, and throw in some M&M’s for good measure!

Monster-in-Law

Imagine meeting the man (or woman) of your dreams. They’re dreamy (obviously), kind, intelligent, working a stable job, and seem well put together. Everything in your life is going perfectly and then…. And then you meet the Monster.

Monster in Law 2

 

Everything that you’ve been through until now can’t prepare you for this. Everything you do is wrong, everything you say is taken out of context, and your feelings are never taken into consideration because you’re clearly wrong. You may not have dealt with this creature, you may never deal with a creature like it, but we can only hope that it is as entertaining as this movie.

Monster in Law

 

Monster-in-Law, staring Jennifer Lopez as Charlie, Michael Vartan as Dr. Kevin Fields, and Jane Fonda as Viola Fields, is a fun comedy film that always has me laughing no matter how many times I’ve seen it. That is the testament of a good comedy film. Not every film is able to watched multiple times and enjoyed as if it were the first time after all. The actors have good chemistry with one another, even when it feels like their characters are seconds away from slamming one another against the table. The beauty of comedy lays within the interrelationships of the characters (which depends almost entirely on how the actors portray them). Their humor is crucial to the film being well received, and thankfully Jane Fonda and Jennifer Lopez have a large list of credentials for a film like this.

Monster in Law 1

Charlie is a young woman who wants to experience life for everything it has to offer so she works temporary jobs so that she might never have the same experience twice. One day, while walking a pack of dogs, she runs into a hot jogger and things slowly start to progress.

Monster in Law 4Feeling a little on the outs of the dating world, Charlie of course has her standard issue movie friends, girlfriend Morgan (Annie Parisse) and G.B.F. Remy (Adam Scott whom many now know from Parks and Recreations). After a few miscommunications, things begin to work out for Charlie and Kevin and just as they’re about to take the next big step, Viola is released from prison.

MONSTER-IN-LAW, Wanda Sykes, 2005, (c) New Line

Tied to Jane Fonda’s Viola is one of the most hilarious characters in the entire film, Ruby (played by Wanda Sykes), Viola’s personal assistant and sometime friend. The two make an interesting pair together, and Wanda Sykes tends to steal the show whenever she’s on screen (but it’s awesome so we don’t care).

Monster-in-Law takes your typical romantic comedy and substitutes the drama and obstacles for a single obstacle, the aforementioned soon-to-be-mother-in-law. Viola will stop at nothing to make sure that her son is marrying the right person, and she is extremely certain that Charlie is not that person. Thankfully Charlie starts to see through Viola’s machinations and begins to fight back in an effort to prove that her relationship with Kevin is entirely about love and has nothing to do with the money he earns or comes from.

Comedies, as I’ve said before, have a tendency to throw all of the best parts in a trailer and then we’re left with nothing but a flat film. Monster-in-Law keeps the jokes coming throughout the majority of the film and makes certain that we aren’t bowled over in the process.

monster-inlaw-600x450The dynamic between Jane Fonda and Jennifer Lopez is an entertainingly antagonistic one and it seems to devolve throughout the course of the movie as they succumb to deeper levels. They aren’t just the main characters, they are by far the biggest names in the movie at this point and as such have recognition on their side. You might see one of their films specifically because THEY are in it (which is part of my definition of an A-list celebrity). Because they are established actors we expect more from them, and watching them beat each other up is made funnier because of how we know these two actresses.

Monster in Law 5

Unfortunately for Dr. Kevin Fields, this is a precarious situation that I think nobody should have to be put through. For one, your spouse-to-be should never (and thankfully Charlie never does) try and force you into making a “me or them” choice and neither should your parents. On the same hand your parents should not try to undermine your relationship simply because they think you can do, or deserve, better. Both sides are important to the party in the middle and when put in a situation like this, it tends to not be as funny as it is in Monster-in-Law.

But that’s the point of a comedy film, to shine a laughing light on the world’s problems.

The Prince and Me

Ooh, a beautiful brunette and a handsome Prince who fall in love and want to be together despite coming from two very different worlds. Will and Kate…? Oh, oh right this is a movie that predates all of that.

The Prince and Me

The Prince and Me follows Julia Stiles as Paige Morgan, a bright, beautiful young woman who is studying to become a doctor and is working at what I suppose could ostensibly be called a college bar to help pay her way through school. Luke Mably plays Edvard ‘Eddie Williams’ of Denmark is the Crown Prince of Denmark who only wants to be treated like a normal young man and not… the next in line to a royal throne. In order to combat this and find out what it is he wants to do with his life, other than rule an entire country of course, Edvard and his manservant go to Wisconsin on the promise of girls going wild. And if you’re one of those who have been duped into thinking that there are hot girls in your area just waiting to talk to you, you know exactly how this goes for him.

Unaccustomed to American culture, as most Americans are to the cultures of others, Edvard must navigate the complicated ways of women who aren’t as he had been promised, as in they aren’t girls and they most certainly aren’t going wild. At the same time Paige, who is studying to become a doctor, is having difficulty with her chemistry class when she is unfortunately paired up with the young man who asked her to go wild for him… What a lovely story to tell the kids one day! Unwilling to give up her dreams, Paige powers through Eddie’s advances and seeming stupidity where college is concerned, and finds herself at a crossroads with something she doesn’t understand and (as most people would probably tell you a class that doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the degree she is seeking) needs Eddie’s help with her Shakespeare studies. In return Paige teaches Eddie how to do laundry and then invites him to her home for thanksgiving…

As this is a romantic movie, they start to realize that they truly have feelings for one another around this point. Coincidentally it is shortly after this that a photographer somehow has managed to stalk Eddie from Denmark to Wisconsin and shows up with a hoard of people who want to get the scoop on the new dish!

The fact that this, in and of itself, could be a single film always makes me a little bit surprised when I remember that there’s at least another forty minutes left. And by a little bit surprised I mean this is how I feel Princess Diaries should have gone before the sequel happened. Actually getting to see the film past what could easily be considered an ending, albeit a downer at that, is a treat in and of itself.

Followed by three direct to dvd sequels with the seeming impossibility of keeping people or even characters for that matter, I’d also like to point out that they’re all good fun. Who needs consistency where actors are concerned? Twilight sure didn’t and we all know how that worked out!

Far From the Madding Crowd

Every once in a while I get a feeling and that feeling leads me to watch movies I otherwise normally wouldn’t watch. That feeling has rarely, if ever, let me down.

Far From the Madding Crowd

I remember sitting in the theater, several times in fact, and the trailer for Far From the Madding Crowd (Madding not Maddening) would play and it would catch my attention. The first time I quite easily forgot it, period pieces aren’t always something I find myself interested in because I can’t identify with the time period, hell sometimes I can’t even identify with this time period. By the second or third time of seeing the trailer, and a bit of research, I decided to see this movie, and at the point at which I did see it I was quite aware that it was an adaptation of a book. But it isn’t the first adaptation, or the second or third even. No this was the fifth time that this novel was adapted for film, with the fourth one being an adaptation of an adaptation (a comic serial).

This had me asking myself; what was so damn special about this story?

So I went to go see it by myself, not about to ask someone else to sit through something they probably wouldn’t enjoy, and I found myself engrossed in its tale. The beauty of the scenery which delicately portrayed Victorian England. Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan, and for a long time I seriously thought that this was Katie Holmes) is a young woman who has lived with her aunt for a while, working on the woman’s farm for a living, and is quite the independent woman in a time of subservience to men simply for having a pair of breasts. One day, while riding her horse, she loses her scarf and a handsome, and successful, sheep herder named Gabriel Oak (Matthias Schoenaerts) finds it and returns it to her. A flirtation begins between the two of them, and Bathsheba joins Gabriel as he is training his new sheepdog how to herd sheep. Their flirtation, going both ways, leads Gabriel to propose to Bathsheba who promptly rejects the proposal as she wants someone who could actually tame her, and she knows that he never could.

Very shortly thereafter Bathsheba and Gabriel have a reversal of fortune, Gabriel’s new sheepdog does what he does in an absolutely horrific manner and Bathsheba inherits her uncle’s entire estate. This leads Bathsheba on an interesting ride as she is now in charge of a household staff on grounds that cover (if I recall correctly 1000 individual acres next to another estate with 1000 acres) a lot of ground and a fortune all her own. It is here we meet two more suitors of Bathsheba, the mature bachelor next door William Boldwood (Michael Sheen) and Sergeant Frank Troy (Tom Sturridge), a bad boy of sorts.

You can probably guess where that leads.

But the point of the story, even with the underlying plot of Bathsheba being pursued by more men than Bella Swan, is that Bathsheba is fiercely independent and doesn’t want to give that up. Her story isn’t unlike that of many young women today, and I believe this is a grand and powerful tale that may take a while to build up but is still worth your time.

The Swan Princess

Good news everyone! You’re going to the cannibalistic world known as… Oh, sorry that’s the wrong animated character (Sorry Professor Farnsworth, maybe when we do TV reviews you’ll get your chance to shine!).

The Swan Princess

This review is about an adorable fairytale that wasn’t made by Disney! Say hello to Princess Odette, a young girl who wants nothing more than to not marry Prince Derek from a neighboring kingdom, a match set up from birth for Odette (Michelle Nicasto) and a very young age of Derek (Howard McGillin)… all but immediately after her mother died during childbirth (something that isn’t ever mentioned on screen but come on… the Queen never shows up once). Once the two of them are of a slightly more mature age, let’s say six or seven, King William (Dakin Matthews) and Queen Uberta (Sandy Duncan) conduct annual visits of three months to Queen Uberta’s kingdom, and we can only hope that the King has some form of regent looking over his… never mind that actually makes so much sense as to how the evil sorcerer Rothbart (Jack Palance) could plan and plot without ever being caught by the Royal Guard.

In the meantime, over the years Odette and Derek find themselves disagreeing on everything and always getting into one another’s way. Odette, starting as a precocious child, grows into a tomboy who wants nothing more than to just play with Derek and his friend Bromley (Joel McKinnon Miller). As young girls’ trend to do, but not Princesses who are named Merida, they grow out of their tomboyish phase and learn about boys! Which tends to annoy Derek more than her wanting to actually play rough house with him. Oh young romance how dreamy you can be!

The years continue to tick by until, let’s say eighteen to twenty two based on figures and maturity, plus the age of majority for ruling a kingdom in what is obviously based on some form of medieval European country, and William and Uberta hope desperately that this, Derek and Odette’s last meeting that something will come of it. Thankfully, all of their hard work and effort over what is more than likely a decade, Derek and Odette are breath taken by who they have grown up to be and love at last sight is a new thing. They dance, they smile, and then reality sets in with a single question, “What else?”

This film trumps Disney in a single regard that has only just come to their attention, a long lasting mature relationship cannot, I repeat, CANNOT be expected to be of any kind of substance when you know someone for a day (Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White), based on a lie (Aladdin, Princess and the Frog the last of which was in 2009 but at least spent the ENTIRE film focusing on a relationship), or simple fascination with their looks (The Little Mermaid, 1989 but which had the courtesy of moving beyond pure physical attraction to something a little deeper and… okay three days is still an awful timeframe to get married). In comparison, while it may have been during a montage, Derek and Odette have known one another for at least ten to twelve years and when they actually start to feel something for one another, Odette is quick to crush it when she realizes that Derek doesn’t know why he loves her and the only reason he can come up with is her beauty.

Their relationship is anything but easy over the years, but the rest of the film builds them up so that when they actually do reach a natural relationship it is worth so much more than most other relationships in this medium. But this is just the underlying plot, the rest of the film deals with the titular Swan.

Odette, having refused a marriage proposal from Derek, leaves with her father for their kingdom when they are assaulted, William is killed and Odette is captured leading to a search effort spearheaded by Derek to find Odette and prove his love to her.

Captured by the disgraced sorcerer Rothbart, who wants to be a king “legally,” Odette is cursed to become a Swan every day with her only respite being at night if she can make it to the lake and float under the moon’s brilliant shine. Rather than being a damsel in distress who is simply waiting for someone to find her despite having no clue where to start searching for her, Odette, with her new friends Speed (a turtle, Steven Wright), Jean-Bob (A frog with dreams of being the star of the fairytale but this isn’t the Princess and the Frog so wait your turn – John Cleese), and Puffin (a… puffin voiced by Steve Vinovich), goes out and finds her true love to try and convince him of her plight.

This is a beautiful film and I think that adults and children alike can enjoy its beautiful score, the entertaining songs, and the funny characters.

Beauty Shop

We’re back here at LMR with what we hope to be a much more regularly scheduled show!!

Beauty Shop

Beauty Shop is a movie that I discovered because Queen Latifa is one of my favorite (I mean like FAVORITE) actresses. It’s a romantic comedy and one of the reasons I find it to be an important movie, even if it isn’t the best movie, is because it reminds us that love isn’t just for skinny white women and muscle bound white men out of a Nicholas Sparks’ book-turned-movie. Whenever Queen Latifa stars in a film there is barely, if any mention of her weight being a negative aspect of who she is, even when it’s her character who feels insecure about herself.

Beauty Shop casts aside physical insecurity for the insecurity you and I face every day where our dreams are concerned. She wants to own her own beauty shop (heh, heh, get the title?) but she also needs a high paying job so that she afford the tuition for her daughter’s private schooling (she’s a musical genius don’t you know?). It is this reason, and only this reason, that Latifa’s Gina Norris stays in her demanding (and demeaning) position at Jorge’s (Kevin Bacon, OOOOH!) shop. At least that is until Jorge underestimates just how much Gina does to make his salon a success (he can’t even operate the soaking station’s extendable faucet for Christ’s sake~!).

This leads us into the meat of our plot as Gina strikes it out on her own and reminds us that dream’s aren’t enough (credit is better) to get what you want out of life (even if you’re a really hard worker mind you). Hoping to get a bank loan because of her confidence in her skills and the effort she put into her prospectus, she is forced to use her skills as a hair stylist to forcibly make over the frumpy personal banker so that she’ll see that Gina is a safe investment (in what is definitely one of the most edge of your seat scenes I’ve ever seen…. Alright that’s not entirely true…).

Queen Latifa and Kevin Bacon aren’t our only actors, though, granted many of you will think they’re the most notable. Mena Suvari (American Pie) and Andie MacDowell (Sex, Lies, and Videotape) both play quirky customers who follow Gina to her shop because her hair crack is just that awesome. Alfre Woodard (Desperate Housewives, Take the Lead), Golden Brooks (The Game), Alicia Silverstone (Clueless, the film not the show), and Bryce Wilson (….a rapper I suppose?) all play some of her just-as-quirky hairstylists. Each of them bring a unique flare to the movie when they’re onscreen and seeing them interact in that sacred hairstylist-customer relationship reminds me why it’s A-okay to spend a crap ton of money to get a cheaper therapy session than it would be from your neighborhood psychologist.

This movie is a spin-off of the Barbershop duology and I won’t lie, I prefer this one to those ones.

 

The Boy Next Door

The Boy Next DoorThere is a stigma, almost always appropriate, against teachers dating students. It’s horrific for elementary students through high school students and simply frowned upon by faculty when professors/instructors date college students. However, this stigma is entirely dependent on the ick factor that is all but certainly biologically ingrained in our DNA to protect children (remember when twelve was the marrying age? Neither do I). This may seem like a rant, and in some cases it is, because while I completely against pedophilia I found the basic inciting incident of The Boy Next Door to be unbelievable at best and laughable at worst. It is blatantly pointed out that Ryan Guzman’s character (Noah) is nineteen when he goes to the high school where Jennifer Lopez (Clair) teaches English. Suddenly the stigma is cast aside because, while we are looking at a high school student having an affair with his teacher, he is well above the age of consent and almost to the age of majority (depending on which state you live in because they may or may not be the same thing!).

I totally understand what goes through our minds when we think of older women sleeping with younger men (for some reason it’s never the same things for when and older, and often uglier, man is sleeping with a younger woman *cough, cough*Hugh Hefner*cough, cough*), but he’s an adult and so is she. Thus I couldn’t really get behind her logic of it being wrong outside of her just being a teacher and him being a student… So by the time it was revealed he was a psychopath I was really thinking… REALLY?!

Now that we’ve gotten past that I have to say I’m really digging Ryan Guzman as of late, he’s really starting to come up in the world of acting from Pretty Little Liars (SQUEE!) to two of the Step Up sequels, he’s going places. Jennifer Lopez, in my not so humble opinion, is always a gem even in the strangest of movies I find her in. Now then, I must admit I was surprised to find Kristin Chenoweth in this movie, but it was really refreshing to see her do something (Last time I saw her was on Glee and before that it was Good Christian Bitches, God rest it’s soul). This is clearly Ian Nelson’s first big role, seeing as how a cursory scan of the rest of his work gave only minimal mention of his efforts in his other work, but he played the child of impending (actual?) divorce quite well. John Corbett (From Sex and the City) is also just as good, only he’s playing the philandering father trying to get back with his wife because…. Whatever the reason he did it quite well.

Even though I tore the inciting incident of this film to shreds I really, REALLY loved it. Give it a try and you may be pleasantly surprised, too.

Th Age of Adaline

The Age of AdalineI have always loved Blake Lively, from before she showed up as our main character in Gossip Girl she has been one of my favorite actresses. Getting to see Blake Lively headline a movie, for what seems like in forever, is a treat in and of itself. The Age of Adaline was a beautifully scripted film, her pain from agelessness is something that we can identify with even though it is realistically impossible. That’s a sign of a good script, great director, and an actor who knows how to pull from the material given them to bring a character to life. It’s a process that we don’t always get to glimpse at, but when the finished product is good you know deep down that it all went in the right direction.

Adaline is a young woman, the first birth in 1908, and she grows up as an ordinary person, who marries, has a child, and then dies. It’s the last part, however, that is anything but ordinary. Her death is completely final until a bolt of lightning strikes her car, submerged in water, and does something to her body that will cease the ravages of time, as our narrator put it so eloquently. Unfortunately, being ageless has its drawbacks. While we only see it happen a few times, it’s clear that when someone questions her youth and beauty, which are those of a woman in her twenties when she is supposed to be in her forties, that Adaline finally realizes there is something different about her. It is completely cemented for her when a police officer pulls her over, doesn’t believe her and confiscates her driver’s license. This begins our tale, as Adaline moves to a new place for the first time only to learn her first mistake, always change your name.

Adaline lives decade after decade, changing her name and slightly altering her appearance so that she can go through her seemingly endless life without issue. But as you can imagine, this is a lonely existence for a person, and when you have to go through life watching the ones you love die that loneliness is only emphasized.

This is a dramatic romance, through and through, despite the fantasy elements interlaced with it, it is clear that this movie only uses it to enhance its plot rather than detract from it.

Michiel Huisman plays Ellis, the most recent man to capture Adaline’s affections and the romance that primarily drives the plot of the film. Harrison Ford, Ellen Burstyn, and Amanda Crew are supporting players in this film, and while each has their part they are minor when compared to Blake Lively and Michiel Huisman, as is per use in a romance film.

Belle

BelleBelle takes us to a time when racism is alive and well and even with money you simply couldn’t escape it. Based on a true story (partially, like all tales based on true stories), Dido Elizabeth Belle is a young mulatto girl who is the illegitimate daughter of a white naval captain, a man who acknowledges her as his child and thus begins a whirlwind life for Dido. Raised alongside her white niece, a beautiful girl Lady Elizabeth Murray, they are of equal rank (with the only difference being skin color) who grow to be as close as sisters.

This is only the beginning of her tale, and it only grows more confusing for her as she grows up in the aristocratic society in England. A particular line that stands out for me, and colors the confusion quite well, is said early in the film (Paraphrased: How is it I can be too high to eat with the servants but too low to eat with my family). Granted this is in regards to when “polite” company is over, it still lets Dido know that no matter how beautiful, wealthy, or intelligent she is she will always be considered less than her niece, Elizabeth.

Add in to the drama that her uncle, whom she refers to as “papa”, will not allow her to marry anyone who would lower her rank than it already is (while at the same time knowing that no one of her rank or greater would marry her because of her “handicap (SMH)). But this is only part of the story, interlaced throughout it is the Xong Massacre in which a slave ship kicked its cargo (the slaves) into the ocean supposedly in order to save themselves because they didn’t have enough water for everyone.

This is a tale of racism at its core, told from the point of view of a woman who is torn between both sides of society. She is, technically speaking although not literally speaking, a lady of status in English society who happens to be black. It’s quite an interesting tale, albeit like most tales of the sort it sets aside reality for a good story.

There isn’t anything inherently wrong with this, mind you, a good story is always better than a boring story and we all know what happens to boring stories (they don’t get adapted into movies). It’s a sad tale, though, even if not all of the pieces are real. I particularly like period pieces because it makes certain aspects of our history relevant to what we’re going through today. Relevancy is always important in terms of the works we read, watch, and listen to. It’s what allows us to relate to it.

Belle is a relatable tale regardless of whether or not it touches close to home. We all have things we want and moments of confusion, and that is a major theme in this movie.