British actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw has done a number of period flicks, from one of her early roles as an 18th-century aristocratic woman in Belle to the upcoming biopic of British-Jamaican nursing pioneer Mary Seacole in Seacole. I thought that, and of course her talent and range, made her the perfect candidate for a Woman Crush Wednesday!
Marple: “Ordeal by Innocence” (2007)
One episode of the Agatha Christie, 1950s-set murder mystery series.
As Dido Elizabeth Belle, a real-life woman of color who was raised by her aristocratic English family and who was both inside and yet outside of that family.
Free State of Jones (2016)
Based on a true story, about Newton Knight, a Mississippi man who led an armed revolt against the Confederacy during the American Civil War. Mbatha-Raw plays the real-life Rachel, an enslaved woman who becomes his wife.
Beauty and the Beast (2017)
She plays Plumette, a maid who is transformed into a feather duster, in the live-action, 18th-century-ish adaptation.
Motherless Brooklyn (2019)
A crime movie set in 1957 New York. Mbatha-Raw plays an African-American woman fighting “urban renewal.” Things get more complicated!
Come Away (2020)
She plays the adult Alice (of Alice in Wonderland) in this homage to Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland.
Technically a little late for us, but Mbatha-Raw is SO good in this I had to include it! She plays the real-life Miss Grenada who competed in the 1970 Miss World competition, while British feminists protest.
A reclusive writer is forced to take in a refugee boy during World War II. In part of the story, she flashes back to her relationship with with Vera (Mbatha-Raw) while at university.
Seacole (coming soon)
She’ll be playing the real-life Mary Seacole, a British-Jamaican nurse during the Crimean War (1853-56).
Which of Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s historical roles is your fave?