Minor spoiler alerts
…and enjoyed my visit to the movies every time as if it was the first. How does that work? It’s simply the mark of a very good film and excellent work from all those involved.
So what is it about this dazzling success of a live-action remake that’s got me enchanted?
- They kept the goosebump-inducing, heartstring-tugging, sweeping opening theme that takes us right in to the Beast’s castle and that “hidden heart of France”, and we never look back.
2. Casting Emma Watson as Belle was sheer genius, and she delivers in such a way that her Belle simultaneously takes the best from the original Disney story and becomes a fleshed-out, complete and winning heroine in this version. I cannot imagine any other actress in this role. The door of Belle and Maurice’s house opening on a morning in Villeneuve, as Belle steps out and launches in to Little Town was, for me, one of the many wonderful moments in the film. Oh yes, and there’s the fact of all that other brilliant casting – luminous Dan Stevens and all he gives to the Beast, Emma Thompson lovingly recreates Mrs. Potts, Kevin Kline conveys a father’s love with depth and dignity and Luke Evans brings all of Gaston’s brutal sociopathic tendencies to life.
3. All that bibliophilia, educated quoting and reading of literary works while walking together on gorgeous castle grounds (or watching over a temperamental Beast as he convalesces), the joy that seems to light Belle up from inside when she first steps inside the castle’s mind-blowing library is indispensable in conveying one of the main messages in Beauty and the Beast – the transformative power of knowledge, stories and feeding the mind.
4. Belle’s face standing in front of an enchanted book as the Beast tells her, “Think of the one thing that you’ve always wanted. Now find it in your mind’s eye, and feel it in your heart…” shows in one look the burning longing and sadness that still exists within her, apart from wanting “adventure in the great wide somewhere”, the “one story Papa could never bring himself to tell.” In addition to disclosing a tragic secret and helping Belle move on in her life, the whole sequence was beautifully acted and significant in developing Belle and Beast’s trust in one another (after the magnitude of saving each other’s lives, of course). This part also containes another new musical bit sung by Emma Watson, and her voice perfectly carries both sadness and tenderness.
Easy to remember
Harder to move on
Knowing that the Paris of my childhood
5. Well, it would be strange if I didn’t mention Tale as Old as Time here, wouldn’t it? No further words necessary.
Bittersweet and strange
Finding you can change
Learning you were wrong