Almost every “costume drama” deals with the inequities of privilege, with the focus usually falling on class and gender divides. Amma Asante's Belle adds racial inequality into the mix, and the wrinkle is almost compelling enough to forgive the superficial treatment it receives. Newcomer Gugu Mbatha-Raw is all big, pleading eyes as Belle, a biracial orphan left with wealthy white relatives and forced to live under a set of dehumanizing guidelines. This is where Belle should burrow into the intersecting and often contradictory concepts of power and privilege, but the film is content to skim the surface. Draco Malfoy himself (Tom Felton) is cast in the role of an invective-spewing rich bigot, just to prove that racism is bad. The courtroom drama subplot, which invokes a real-life case instrumental in dismantling the British slave industry, feels tacked on for the sake of a quasi-inspirational finish.