Growing up, like a lot of little girls, I enjoyed “Fairy Tales.” But not the weird “Princess culture” fairy tales of today, but the dark, weird Grimm Fairy tales that, when you really thought about it, were quite disturbing. Hence, when I saw “The Little Mermaid” as a kid, I’d already read the source material and was relieved when it didn’t end in suicide.
(Even if it had sort of lost that whole, “Don’t give up your life and talent for some dude you just met” lesson by making it all worth it for the titular Mermaid in the end.)
Amma Assante’s “Belle,” is a bit like a modern fairy tale. The main character isn’t a princess, but there is a certain “Cinderella” element to the story, where a young, “mulatto” motherless street urchin is picked up and whisked away to a life of excess when she learns her father is a kind aristocrat. Continue reading