This post will not contain any major details that are new to the live action Beauty and the Beast, but will include some minor details that weren’t a part of the animated movie. If you haven’t seen the movie and are okay with that, keep reading! If not, you’ve been warned and should stop here.
On Friday I got to go see the new live action Beauty and the Beast! Not only was it amazing, but it was beautiful and inspiring. It captured the wonder of the animated classic, while at the same time adding layers and details to enrich the story. They also updated it so that it is an inspiring story that fits the 21st century.
Emma Watson’s Belle, in particular, becomes a more complex character and we get to see more of her character traits. In the animated movie, we infer that she’s smart because she loves to read, and we know that she’s brave because she takes her father’s place as the Beast’s prisoner. In this version, we also get to see the brilliance that she inherits from her father the inventor/artist. In the village, she creates her own washing machine and the washing well using a barrel to hold the clothes with a donkey attached to it. The donkey runs around the well continuously while Belle is able to sit nearby and relax with a book.
She’s also brave, not only because she takes her father’s place, but we get to see her face off against the townspeople on more than one occasion. It may not seem like much, but voicing your beliefs when you know they’ll be scoffed at is scary, yet Belle isn’t deterred. Add in the fact that she’s played by feminist icon Emma Watson, and it makes this new Belle the Disney Princess I always wished for as a child, what the classic princesses just plain weren’t. She’s a role model every kid who sees this movie can actually look up to.
Part of being a good role model is showing what good relationships look like. Belle doesn’t want to marry Gaston, not only because she’d rather have real love, but also because she knows he would put his own happiness before hers and potentially treat her badly. The Beast, on the other hand, learns how to treat her with kindness, and in this version we see how much of a match they are for each other. They are able to have intellectual conversations, something that is probably important to someone with Belle’s brilliance. They take turns saving and taking care of each other. We, along with Belle, also get more of the Beast’s back story, so we know why when he meets Belle he is so cold hearted. This makes it more understandable as to why she forgives him, rather than leaving us thinking maybe she has Stockholm syndrome.
The movie of course tells the same story as the original, but by adding in all of the layers and details that it does, it becomes more feminist and less problematic. It’s also just more captivating and makes for a better story. Even if Beauty and the Beast wasn’t your favorite Disney movie as a kid (it wasn’t even in my top 5), I highly suggest going to see the live action remake, or going to see it again if you’ve already seen it!
Featured Image Source: Google Images, CC