Yesterday I had the pleasure of watching the 2017 live-action musical romantic fantasy film, Beauty and the Beast.
In France during the 1780s, an enchantress disguised as a beggar arrives at a debutante ball and offers an enchanted rose to a prince in exchange for shelter from a storm, but he refuses. For his selfishness, the enchantress transforms him into a beast to match his inhumane character and the servants into inanimate objects, and erases the castle from the villagers’ memories. She gives the Beast a magic mirror that shows faraway events. To break the spell, the prince must learn to love another and earn her love in return before the rose’s last petal falls.
Years later, in the village of Villeneuve, a young woman, Belle, lives with her father Maurice, an artist and tinkerer. Gaston, a celebrated former soldier, seeks her hand in marriage, but she is repulsed by his arrogance and narcissism. On a trip to the market to sell music boxes, Maurice and his horse Philippe lose their way in the forest and are attacked by wolves. They seek refuge at the castle, only for Maurice to be imprisoned by the Beast as penance for taking a rose from the garden. The Beast accepts Belle’s offer to take her father’s place.
Belle wanders into the forbidden west wing and finds the rose. The Beast, enraged, frightens Belle into fleeing into the woods. He rescues her from a pack of wolves but is injured during the fight. Belle assists him to the castle and nurses him back to health. A friendship develops, and the servants tell her she may be the one who can break the curse. The Beast develops feelings for Belle and allows her access to his library. Belle remains uncertain of her feelings due to her imprisonment.
Meanwhile, Maurice returns to Villeneuve but is unable to convince the others to rescue Belle. Gaston agrees to help Maurice rescue Belle, but when he reveals his true intentions, to marry Belle, Maurice refuses. Gaston leaves him in the forest to die. Maurice is rescued by a hermit, Agathe, and openly accuses Gaston of his crime, but Gaston pays Monsieur D’Arque to send Maurice to the town’s insane asylum.
After sharing a romantic dance with the Beast, Belle discovers her father’s predicament using the magic mirror. The Beast allows her to leave to save Maurice, giving her the mirror to look back on him with. At Villeneuve, Belle proves Maurice’s sanity by revealing the Beast in the mirror. Realizing that Belle loves the Beast, Gaston has her thrown into asylum with her father and rallies the villagers to follow him to the castle to slay the Beast. Maurice and Belle escape from confinement and Belle follows.
During the ensuing fight, Gaston abandons his companion LeFou, who sides with the servants to fend off the villagers. Gaston attacks the Beast in his tower, who is initially too depressed to fight back, but regains his will upon seeing Belle return. He corners Gaston but spares his life before reuniting with Belle. However, Gaston fatally shoots the Beast in the back when suddenly the bridge collapses and he falls to his death. The Beast dies as the last rose petal falls and Belle professes her love to him.
Agathe reveals herself as the enchantress and undoes the curse, restoring the Beast’s life and human form. The servants’ forms and the villagers’ memories are also restored. The prince and Belle host a ball for the village, where they dance happily.
It was a great film, and a perfect reimagining of the original animated film that we all know and love. There were slight changes, and some additions, to the plot – but overall that only improved the story. The acting was superb from start to finish, and there were some genuinely touching moments. An excellent film, and one that is definitely worth watching.
Thanks for reading.