Beauty and the Beast – After an arrogant Prince turns away an old beggar woman asking for shelter, she reveals herself to be a beautiful sorceress and punishes him by transforming him into a Beast and his servants into inanimate objects; doomed to remain that way unless the Prince can experience true love. Nearby, the beautiful and adventurous Belle desperately wants to leave her little town to experience life elsewhere; when her father goes missing she goes looking for him, finding herself face-to-face with the angry and bitter Beast. Will the two be able to find the goodness inside each other in order to fall in love and break the spell?
Beauty and the Beast (2017) – Bill Condon
Running Length: 129 mins
Starring: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans
Genre: Fantasy, Musical, Romance
‘BEAUTY AND THE BEAST’ REVIEW
‘Beauty and the Beast’ continues Disney’s seemingly unstoppable trend of turning their classic animations into live-action movies. So far, ‘Maleficent’ and ‘The Jungle Book’ have created their own identity while maintaining the essence of their source material, it is therefore a shame that ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is almost scene-for-scene, word-for-word and song-for-song identical to the animated movie with the exception of a couple of extra scenes. However as the original was so solidly good, reciting it by no means detracts. The extra scenes are perfectly placed to add depth to much of the story and characters. Who was Belle’s mother? Who was the Prince before he was the Beast? Why is Gaston so revered by the townsfolk?
The controversy surrounding the inclusion of a homosexual character has clouded the movie and, while we fully understand why this may be a concern for many parents, it is important for us to confirm that this has been blown out of all proportion. Specifically, Le Fou (Gaston’s sidekick) who many have proclaimed to be gay, is not; he hero-worships Gaston but it is made clear that he is no more than a friend (there are numerous opportunities to imply more than this but they are never taken).
With the animation’s award-winning innovative and beautiful visuals, the live-action movie had a lot to live up to and thankfully it does not disappoint with sumptuous scenery, colourful characters and gorgeous cinematography. Although it would have been nice to have seen the story from a new perspective, the immortal words of Cogsworth come to mind: ‘If it ain’t Baroque, don’t fix it!’.
IS ‘BEAUTY AND THE BEAST’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?
A character gets lost in dark, spooky woods. They are soon followed by a pack of wolves that growl and snarl at the character, when they attack they are very aggressive. This scene lasts a few minutes and becomes rather intense until the character manages to escape and ends up at a seemingly haunted castle. There are a couple of other scenes with these wolves which are very similar in tone.
A character tentatively enters the castle hearing whispers and a harpsichord playing, but when he enter the room which houses the instrument, it suddenly stops playing (a comical ‘oops’ being heard). However, enough is shown to let the audience know where the whispers are coming from and how the harpsichord is playing by itself.
When a character walks around the garden of the castle, another character watches them from the shadows. This second character is huge and growls when the other takes something from the garden. His feet stamp towards the other character and when this character realises they are in danger, they look terrified as the other’s shadow covers them for around three seconds before the scene ends.
A character punches another, rendering them unconscious and then ties them to a tree, knowing that there are wolves nearby which will likely find the character and kill them. The character is then left to their fate (although someone does soon come to their aid).
A character visits their childhood home, recognising some sentimental drawings and objects. They discover what happened to a loved one and this becomes a little emotional.
A mob is formed based on fear and prejudice, they march to the chant and song of ‘kill the beast’, they attack the castle and its inhabitants which includes innocents who have to fight to protect themselves and their home. This isn’t overly upsetting but some of the attackers are quite aggressive. One of the castle’s inhabitants has been turned into a wardrobe and, when attacked by three men, she throws many women’s garments at them resulting in them being dressed as women. Two of these men run away screaming but the third is happy with his new look and walks away with a spring in his step.
Towards the end of the movie, several established characters die. One is shot and stabbed and collapse to the floor with a loved one grieving for them. Some say their goodbyes, resigned to their fates while others become quite distress, one says ‘please don’t leave me’ and another becomes distressed that they can’t find their child before expiring.
CAN I SEE A CLIP?
VERDICT – IS ‘BEAUTY AND THE BEAST’ FOR KIDS?
A beautiful reimagining of the classic Disney movie ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is a must-see for fans of the original as well as kids who enjoy the romantic story of two outcasts who find solace in one another despite their differences. Due to some scary scenes, we feel this movie should be appropriate for children aged seven and over.
- Violence: 2/5
- Emotional Distress: 2/5
- Fear Factor: 2/5
- Sexual Content: 1/5 (some of the costumes the women wear are representative of the fashions at the time and some cleavage is shown, however nothing explicit is seen)
- Bad Language: 0/5
- Dialogue: 2/5 (during a song, a character speaks of several men saying ‘and they’ll tell you whose team they prefer to be on’ which causes the man to look a little confused and offended – suggesting this is a mild euphemism for homosexuality. A character who has recently been a Captain in a war is helped to calm down by being reminded of the things he enjoys, being encouraged in his mind to ‘go back to the war – blood, explosions, countless widows’, he dreamily repeats ‘widows’. A character tells a friend ‘it’s always the ones who play hard to get that are the sweetest prey’)
- Other Notes: Deals with themes of wanting more from life, the desire for adventure, entitlement, mob rule, kindness, compassion, a love for education, accepting people’s differences, seeing the good in an outwardly dislikeable person, putting others before yourself, loyalty and hope.
Words by Laura Record