From the opening scene to the very last note, Beauty and the Beast is a breathtaking experience. Simply beautiful. This live action version features a few small twists on the old tale with some further explanation about the character of the Beast and his childhood as a prince, helping the audience (and Belle) feel more compassion for him as a person. There are two new original songs and a hint of understanding about Lefou’s character deftly played by Josh Gad. For those of you wondering what all the homosexual undertone hoopla was about – it was so subtle. And they hint at it again with another villager character towards the end. I thought it was refreshing to see old standards melting away and some truth about love portrayed throughout the film.
We first meet Belle in that classic morning scene of her village, brought to life in warm colors and the flowers…oh the flowers. That floral market in the village makes me want to pack my bags and move to Provence right now.
Emma Watson is a fierce and lovely Belle, the feminist idealist we all wanted to see portrayed in this Disney film. She is a natural beauty, the epitome of grace and determination, with a heart of gold. Like Moana, this Belle is a princess modern young girls can look up to. Her spurning of Luke Evan‘s Gaston sets an example for young girls everywhere, as he aptly says “Belle doesn’t make a fool of herself to gain my favor.” And we gotta say, Luke Evans nailed it as the evil Gaston. His singing is incredible!
Belle’s relationship with the Beast is painted with a bit more depth in this version and their shared experience of discovery is simply lovely. Its great fun to watch Dan Stevens sing as the Beast. (Downton Abbey fans you are going to love the final reveal of Dan Stevens as the restored prince!)
Kevin Kline is wonderful as Belle’s father, a Parisian artist in this version of the classic story. Not a tinkering inventor this time. His creations are sheer perfection.
The rest of the cast is magnificent as well. Emma Thompson, Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellan, Audra McDonald, Stanley Tucci, the list goes on and on. In theaters now. Run don’t walk to see this magnificent film! Arclight Cinemas are running a FREE kids combo pack special from 3/17-3/23, 10am – 2pm for kids dressed as their favorite prince or princess.
Here’s what Common Sense Media says: Parents need to know that Beauty and the Beast is Disney’s live-action remake of the classic 1991 animated musical, with Emma Watson as book-loving, independent Belle and Dan Stevens as the Beast. Although the movie will appeal to even very young viewers, especially those familiar with the original, the remake’s violent sequences can be very intense, with a few jump-worthy and upsetting moments (several involving snarling wolves, others guns) that leave characters bloodied, injured, and, in one case, dead. As always, the story encourages viewers to look beyond the superficial and to be compassionate, curious, humble, and generous. Director Bill Condon took care to make sure that this version had diverse supporting characters, including a gay LeFou (Josh Gad) — Gaston’s sidekick, who briefly dances with a man — and people of color not represented in the animated version.
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