THE BEAUTY OF BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

April 11, 2017

Jennifer Walker

With spell-binding enchantments and a heartwarming story, Beauty and the Beast truly is a tale as old as time.

In 2014, it was announced that the 1991 Disney classic Beauty and the Beast would be remade as a live action movie starring Emma Watson as Belle. As a big fan of the original movie, I was excited to see what the producers would do with the story and I eagerly waited for news and announcements regarding the film. Flash forward to three years later, and to say I was not disappointed is an understatement.

The film starts off in a lavish French palace where the soon to be beast is hosting a ball. What struck me most about this was the attention to detail. The set and costumes were so intricate and well put together it almost seemed like the audience was in 19th century France. This continues in the building of the town in which Belle and her father live. Complete with quirky wooden houses and market stalls, the film compels the viewer to want to jump into the screen and experience this little town for themselves.

Aside from the sumptuous sets, what audiences seem to love about this film, is the outfits Belle wears. It’s not just the iconic yellow dress she wears in the ballroom scene that captivated viewers, but the fact that all of her outfits fit her character well. Her peasant dress is an example of this, one side of it is hitched so that Belle can ride her horse easily which is quite a smart solution, since the social conventions of the time dictated that she was not allowed to wear trousers.

This character is not one for following the rules; she constantly disagrees with what the townspeople want her to do with her life and takes control of her own destiny, which for being set in the 19th century, was a very brave thing to do. When she is trapped in the castle with the not so friendly beast, she is constantly disagreeing and arguing with him, until the beast finally sheds his icy exterior and starts to reveal his true self to Belle.

This brings me to my next point. The most debated and talked about ‘issue’ of the film, Stockholm syndrome. Many people have called this film out since the original animated version for having the heroine fall in love with the man who has imprisoned her. While this does happen in the end, the events leading up to it do not fall into the category of Stockholm syndrome. To clarify, Stockholm syndrome is defined as feelings of trust or affection felt in many cases of kidnapping or hostage-taking by a victim towards a captor. Belle does not fit into this. When the title characters first meet, they both resent each other. Belle has her mind set on escaping and has no intention of forming any kind of relationship with her captor. When the beast insists that she dine with him, he is met with nothing but defiance from her and she is constantly giving as good as she gets by fighting against him.

Belle actively distrusts the beast and chooses to keep herself in her room while trying to escape from him. Surely if she did have Stockholm syndrome she would want to stay? When Belle helps the beast after he is attacked by wolves, it is then that she begins to realise that he may not be as ghastly as he seems. It is from this that they begin to form a friendship. Belle is not infatuated by the beast in any way, she retains her headstrong, independent attitude all the way through the film and starts to see that he is just misunderstood and hurt from what he has gone through. Her friendship with the beast allows her to help him, which lets him see the error of his ways. It is only at the very end of the film that Belle realises that she is in love with him and confesses her feelings. The love grew out of the foundation of friendship that was already built between the two.

Beauty and the Beast was a heartwarming, feel good film with a strong message of standing up for yourself and staying true to you. With an amazing cast, wonderful music and captivating scenes, this film is not to be missed.

Rating: 4.5/5

-Jennifer Walker

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