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Belle is a visually stunning gem that deserves to be seen by as big an audience as possible.

Belle, the new anime by director Mamoru Hosoda, wastes no time to wow you, with an opening scene that contains some of the most stunning, colourful, vibrant animation you'll ever see.

It would be hard for any movie to sustain this artistic high- and to be frank: Belle doesn't either- but whenever the picture seems to lose its way, the script comes up with a neat twist, the pace of the action draws you in or you are taken on another visual thrill ride.

Belle is ambitious to a fault, as the movie tries to marry big themes like online bullying, parental loss and child abuse to the classic tale of Beauty and the Beast, the Disney version of which Hosada draws particular inspiration from. The stream-of-consciousness vibe of the narrative might put some viewers off as well, as will some of the more broad comedic and romantic interludes.

And yet throughout all of this heartfelt emotion pours over you, supported by exquisite J-Pop songs that will move you to your core. So despite the picture's flaws, I was immensely taken by Belle, a gem that deserves to be seen by as big an audience as possible and is easily among the most wonderful movies - animated or otherwise - of the past year.

release: 2021

director: Mamoru Hosada

starring: Kaho Nakamura, Ryô Barita, Shôta Sometani, Tina Tamashiro


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