Beauty and the Beast (2017)
PG / 2h 9m / Family, Fantasy (Weird Romance)
No denying she’s a funny girl, that Belle.
When I think about this film, I can say with confidence that it is probably my least favorite story of all time.
Who greenlit this and thought that it would be a good idea? Okay. Listen. There’s this girl that likes to read in a town where no one likes to read. And there’s a castle under a spell where everyone turned into an appliance except the prince who turned into an animal and we make them fall in love. A girl. With a seven foot tall wolfman. In love. It’s genius. It’s totally for kids.
But there were some parts of the 2017 retelling that I really LOVED. I loved the theatrics – in some scenes I felt like I was watching theatre and that is a good feeling- almost my happy place. Some scenes reminded me so heavily of The Phantom of the Opera (2004) and Marie Antionette (2006) and I swooned in my seat. Luke Evans as Gaston gave an amazing and memorable performance and the same can be said for most of the supporting characters.
Unfortunately, I don’t have many great things to say about the leads. Emma Watson is precious but gave us a hardheaded, in place of dreamy and lofty, Belle. Dan Stephens didn’t even have a chance underneath all of that CGI. And watching them together never made me melt. Or believe. Or have any reason to think she stayed in that castle for anything or anyone but the library.
A flaw, not just in this film but in the story itself, is the time devoted to Belle and Beast’s “romantic relationship.” There is one song about it and a few literary elitist jokes between the two. Aside from being gross, there is always hesitation from both parties. Eggshells. Like they’re just as confused as we are. The only part that was convincing was the infamous ballroom scene – but I think the pressure of it all forced it out of them.
I’m not saying that I truly want to see a woman fall in love with a large animal on the silver screen but if you’re going to pitch it you should probably deliver.
I did find myself shedding tears at the end but I can say it was all for Emma Thompson and Ewan McGregor becoming human again. They made me care about them and their futures. I can’t say the same for Belle or hers. She’s going to spend the rest of her life with a guy that lied about his height.