Upon arriving to the movie theater and seeing the line wrapping around the building for the opening weekend performance of “Beauty and the Beast,” I knew that there must be something good about this movie that was attracting all of these people. I admittedly, did not care to see it, but after my friends talked me into it, I was pleasantly surprised by how this new rendition of the beloved animated movie was a phenomenal portrayal of this timeless story.
The tale is a testament of empowerment and breaking the status quo. The story is centered around Belle, a young woman in a small French town who is struggling with finding her sense of belonging. She doesn’t fit within the cultural landscape of her community – finding herself with her head in a book instead of searching for a husband. Belle, portrayed by Emma Watson, does a great job of bringing life to the character. As a champion of women’s rights, Watson made sure to portray Belle as an advocate of equality. One of my favorite scenes was when Belle is teaching a young girl to read and she is approached by a man who reprimands her for teaching the girl to read. She tells the man that everyone should be able to read no matter if they are boys or girls.
A certain string of controversial scenes that underline homosexuality have certain market segments concerned about whether or not this film is appropriate for children. But this film is so much more than these brief scenes. The scenes are up to your own interpretation, but this can’t deter the message from speaking to you. This film is about becoming empowered, finding how you fit in the world and looking past the appearances of others. It is about looking past society’s standards and doing the things that you love.
We can all learn a lesson from this film. This film is about daring to be different, to see the world through the lens of someone else – looking past appearances and labels. In the movie, Belle is misunderstood by those around her, and the Beast has deep issues of regret from the decisions he has made in his life. At the beginning of the movie, Belle can’t stand the Beast, and vice versa, but the two characters go through a learning curve to see each others’ points-of-view. When they are able to understand each other, they realize they are not quite that different after all.
But most of all, this film is about realizing that our “happily ever afters” don’t all look the same and may not look so bright at the beginning. When Belle is first locked in the castle, she feels as though her life is going to end. She doesn’t realize how this experience will change her and how her relationship with the Beast will help her grow as a person. As college students, we are seeking out our next steps, but it is movies like “Beauty and the Beast” that remind us that the best decisions we could ever make are hidden until we take a chance on them.