Let me begin by saying that I absolutely adored the new live-action Beauty and the Beast. Shocking, I know. Disney’s live-action remake of my favorite fairytale was true as it can be to the original, which is one of the reasons I loved it so much. It is extremely faithful to the original, which in my mind is pure cinematic perfection. Why change something that is beloved by so many? The answer is, you don’t. If it’s not baroque, don’t fix it.
At this point, I feel as if I could write a novel just on my thoughts from this wonderful movie that has consumed my brain the past 48 hours. However, my plan is to keep this as brief as possible and talk about what I think are the highlights of this beautiful rendition.
Emma Watson truly was able to recreate Belle in the most heroic way. Belle, in my mind, has always been adventurous and fearless, but Emma was able to portray her in a new light. The film touches more upon her character and what makes her an outsider in her small village. Belle is progressive, and she goes against the gender standards for women in her small-minded village. Shortly into the film you see women hand washing their clothes. Belle, however, has a better idea. Emma Watson told Entertainment Weekly, “I was like, ‘Well, there was never very much information or detail at the beginning of the story as to why Belle didn’t fit in, other than she liked books.’ Also, what is she doing with her time? So we created a backstory for her, which was that she had invented a kind of washing machine so that, instead of doing laundry, she could sit and use that time to read. We made Belle an inventor.” I LOVED this addition to Belle’s character.
We also see much more of the relationship between Belle and Beast, and just how much they have in common (love for books and not to mention, slightly stubborn personalities…) Belle and Beast both suffered from heartbreak and loneliness, bringing them together in a touching and romantic way. Belle was looked at as a funny girl in her village, and Beast was feared among the servants in the castle. Both felt like outsiders, something that they truly were able to bond over.
I loved how all of my favorite characters were given backstories. We learned what happened to Belle’s mother and why Maurice doesn’t talk about it, we learned about the Beast and his life before the curse, and we learned about Gaston and his days in the war. All of these backstories gave so much depth to the characters, something that was not depicted in the original. It made me feel compassion towards the Beast, love towards Maurice and even MORE hate towards Gaston. I must admit, I have always been a fan of Gaston, but I found him much harder to love after seeing this extremely dark side of him. They also showed the strong love and sense of loyalty between a father and daughter.
What’s dinner without a little music? Well, in this case, what’s a movie without a little music? ALL OF THE ORIGINAL SONGS (AND EVEN THE SCORE) ARE INCLUDED. THANK YOU DISNEY GODS. Actually, thank you Alan Menken, musical genius. The original songs sound great (special thanks to the very talented Luke Evans,) and there are even a few new songs that really fit in the film nicely, especially with the backstory additions. My favorite new song has to be “Evermore,” which is sung by the Beast after he lets Belle go. It’s an absolutely heartbreaking song that is sung beautifully. The music does not disappoint.
No Beauty and the Beast review is complete without mention of the classic ballroom dance scene. This scene brought me to tears. It. Was. FLAWLESS. The way that Belle’s dress followed her as she twirled around the ballroom, the way Beast lifts Belle with the twinkling lights in the background… How can you NOT feel all the feels? This is by far my FAVORITE scene of the movie. Good job Disney, good job.
This movie completely blew me away. It was everything I had dreamed it would be, and so much more. I have seriously had the hardest time putting into words my feelings for this movie besides it simply makes my heart feel happy. Having seen the original more times than I can even possibly imagine (seriously, this has been a favorite of mine since I was one,) this live-action was a perfect retelling of a story that teaches you that true beauty is found within.