Saturday, my daughter, her friend, and I went to see Beauty and the Beast to celebrate her ninth birthday. She’s in third grade, the same age I was when my third grade teacher introduced me to “Beauty and the Beast”. Not the animated movie with the yellow-dress wearing Disney princess but the French folktale one. It would be another decade before the Disney movie would be released. I saw it in the theatre my freshman year of college.
In general, I loved the movie. It was good but not epic. Here are some of my thoughts (0ne is “spoilerish” in that it’s not in the Disney film and comes later in the movie).
It’s Not Cinderella
For years, my favorite movie was It’s a Wonderful Life. In 2015, the Disney live-action Cinderella unseated the Christmas classic. Oh my word, I loved that movie for all of the reasons why Beauty and the Beast doesn’t rank up there. Cinderella won me over in two ways. It gave Ella a back story that makes her more winsome and believable. Two loving parents who raised a girl who was beautiful inside and out. Jealous stepmothers couldn’t change her. Kit’s story added so much to the movie as well. The scene of him on his bed after the king dies guts me every time. The scenes from his POV added so much to the movie.
Beauty and the Beast is a remake of the animated movie with real people and a couple of added scenes, one of which upped the movie big time in my opinion. Which brings me to…
Saved by the Plague
My absolute favorite scene in the entire movie is when the Beast invites Belle to visit the Paris her father fled when she was a baby. Belle’s imagined shiny city on the hill loses a bit of its gilding. We also learn the heartbreaking story of her mother’s death. It’s such a poignant scene that tells so much more than a journey through an enchanted map.
Belle Is my Kind of Girl
What’s not to love about the “odd girl” in the village who runs around town buried in a book, even (gasp) teaches a girl to read, and invents a washing machine? Seriously, I get her. And the scenes where Maurice is assembling his clockwork pieces, and Belle is helping him find gears and bits, could be my dad and me. Except it would have been car parts.
Like the Animated but with Real People
While being a remake kept Beauty and the Beast from ranking as “epic” in my book, it also made it a fantastic movie, especially one to see with my daughter. I’m a sucker for a good musical, and this movie delivers.
“Beauty and the Beast”, “Belle”, “Gaston”, and “Be Our Guest”, those are some iconic musical numbers. And the cast was great, especially the supporting cast, Kevin Kline, Luke Evans, Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellan, and Stanley Tucci. The only one I liked better in the 1991 animated version is Angela Lansbury. She will forever be Mrs. Potts.
As for feminism, political correctness, and questionable scenes, you’ll have to go to other reviews. All I have to say is I wasn’t uncomfortable in the least having my daughter watch the movie.