Film Review: Belle (2021) — Zena’s Library & Reviews

This will contain spoilers!

I saw the trailer for Belle a month or so ago and was completely mesmerized. I don’t usually watch anime, except with certain directors and this film has effectively put director Mamoru Hosoda on my radar. It’s a sensory dive and a beautiful one at that.

The first thing I noticed while watching Belle is the art and animation style, especially when they’re in U. The colours pop, everything looks painterly without giving any hints that this is anything but digitally animated. The second thing that stole my attention was the song “Gales of Song” in the trailer. This song is beautiful and it takes centre stage in the film, for us and for those in the digital world of U. It isn’t the only good song in the film though — the whole soundtrack is beautiful.

The Beauty and the Beast element really surprised me, even though it should have been obvious by the film title. I think knowing this now, I would go into Belle more open minded to the multiple angles they were taking. I did appreciate the romance, but not to the degree I would have with some changes to that story arc. I found a lot of the high school parts tedious, even though those elements do help us understand Suzu’s motivations for entering U as well as her withdrawn behaviour. There were parts to Beast’s story that were interesting, heart breaking but at times also a bit silly.

For me Belle is 100% about the visuals, music and emotion, with the story taking a backseat. However, despite that the story does have some impactful and beautiful moments.

Rating: 3.7/5

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As of now you can watch Belle on Hulu. To subscribe, click here!

Originally published at on July 4, 2022.



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