Jan Wahl Movie Review: ‘Belle’ & ‘NOW: In the Wings on a World Stage’
You can hear KCBS Entertainment Editor Jan Wahl’s movie reviews on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM Fridays at 8:53am & 4:53pm.
(KCBS) — KCBS Entertainment Editor Jan Wahl reviews “Belle,”the truth-based story of a mixed-race woman (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) raised as an aristocrat in 18th century England—when slavery was legal there. Also reviewed is “NOW: In the Wings on a World Stage,” which chronicles the international theater run of “Richard III” with Kevin Spacey portraying the nefarious monarch.
BELLE (PG-13) 104 min
The time is the late 18th century in Britain. We meet a mixed-race young girl about to be raised by aristocrats, including a powerful patriarch who is one of the most important men in England. He is played by Tom Wilkinson, brilliantly walking that fine line between anger and kindness. Our main protagonist Belle, played with strength and sensitivity by Gugu Mabatha-Raw is based on a true story about a black woman whose lineage affords her privileges, but also has her fighting for both her rights and her humanity.
The plot revolves about changing a law regarding slavery in England and that raises the story to an important level. The costumes, sets and detailed storytelling take us into this other world—and it’s a journey worth embarking on. Amma Asante directs with the heart and grace of Belle herself.
NOW: IN THE WINGS ON A WORLD STAGE (UNRATED) 97 min
In a lifetime of seeing fine theatre, a few performances stand out as unforgettable. At the top is Kevin Spacey as Richard III a few years back in San Francisco. With ‘Now’ I get the chance to somewhat relive it in a documentary about twenty American and British actors and “American Beauty” director Sam Mendes taking this production on a ten-month international tour.
From Bejing to Doha, we are brought behind the scenes, and once again I am thrilled by Spacey’s talent, whether he’s playing Bobby Darin or the mad Richard III or on House of Cards.
Home Viewing/DVD: The Invisible Woman, Labor Day & Shirley Valentine