This year marks of the 25th anniversary of Beauty And The Beast.
Loosely based on the fairy tale of the same name written by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve in 1740, Belle is the odd woman out in the small town in rural France that she calls home. She prefers books and spending time with her father instead of loosing her mind over Gaston, the town hunk.
Miles away a prince has spent the last ten years the form of a beast. Cursed by an enchantress for his selfish ways, he has ten years to mend his ways and find a woman who will love him enough to see past the exterior image. The enchantress left him a reminder of the time he has left, a magical rose that wilts. If the last petal falls and the prince has not changed his ways, he will forever remain a beast.
The catalyst to the meet cute of these characters is Belle’s father, Maurice, who is not the brightest bulb in the box. He gets lost in a storm on the way to a fair and finds shelter in the beast’s castle. The rest is movie history.
Among Disney heroines, Belle was and still is unique. I adore Ariel because she is my animated ginger sister from another mister, but Belle I get. She is smart, capable girl who is not looking for prince charming. She may get her prince charming in the end, but there is no version of “someday my prince will come” in Beauty And The Beast. She is also, compared previous Disney heroines, mature and level-headed.
Belle is to Anne Elliot as Ariel is to Marianne Dashwood.
Her other half, Beast, is also a mess of complications. He is deep down, a decent guy, but has allowed his anger and grief to overtake him and let him emotions match his external image. Sometimes, when we let grief, anger and self hatred overtake us, it’s hard to let the better qualities that we know are inside of us shine through.
In Belle, I see a Disney proto-feminist. While she is not reading The Feminine Mystique or Fear Of Flying, she has inspired multiple generations of girls to be strong, courageous and to simply be themselves.
I had the pleasure, many years ago of seeing the Broadway adaptation of Beauty and The Beast. I also adore the relationship on Once Upon A Time known as Rumbelle. I am eagerly looking forward to the new live action adaptation of Beauty And The Beast that will be arriving in movie theaters next March.
Not that we need reminding why we love this movie, but I give you the original trailer and a reunion of most of the cast the filmmakers.
Writing this, I feel old. Happy Sunday and have a good week.