Film Review: Beauty and the Beast (2017)

I’ve never been really into Disney or fairytales. I like them, but I don’t remember the ins and outs of the stories that well and I certainly don’t have a favourite princess or Disney movie to ramble on about. Beauty and the Beast was always my sister’s thing when we were younger. If we had to dress up as princesses, she was Belle and I was always Aurora. I wasn’t that keen on going to the cinema to see this film either, as I felt like I could just wait for it to come out on DVD and watch it then. Usually I get bored halfway through watching films in the cinema, but this was honestly incredible and I’m not joking when I say I barely took my eyes off the screen.

The visuals of the film are undeniably arresting and although some have stated that it is over-saturated with decadence and magic, to the point where it seems to be begging us to acknowledge it as a fairytale, I completely disagree. I expected nothing less than what I was given on screen. You don’t go and watch a Disney film for it’s subtlety, you’re drawn to it by it’s magical magnetism, beautiful costumes and enchanting characters.

Having Emma Watson cast as Belle was a major pulling factor for me. I absolutely adore Emma Watson – she’s so classy and naturally beautiful and many of you will agree with me when I say that I feel like I’ve grown up watching her. She was always my favourite character in the Harry Potter films and I just feel like there’s nothing to dislike about her. In the film, as expected, she did not disappoint. I think she has a beautiful singing voice and for those of you that might feel like highlighting the auto-tune, I feel like all singing in films is auto-tuned so just be quiet. You could hear that it was Emma singing and I think she did a brilliant job.

I really loved all of the songs in this film, especially the one about Gaston. The theatrical elements of the film were enthralling. I loved the actual musical score of the film too and it’s something I would die to go and watch being performed by a live orchestra. As the music was playing, I could just imagine all the instruments playing together and I think it would just be such an amazing experience to watch that translated into a live musical performance.

Character wise, Luke Evans as Gaston was incredibly gorgeous. I wasn’t too keen on the appearance of the beast when he became human again, but that’s just personal preference. Emma Watson was stunning, I thought Josh Gad as LeFou was perfect and seeing such a racially diverse cast was very refreshing. Gugu Mbatha-Raw (you may remember her from the 2013 film Belle) and Ray Fearon (who voiced Firenze the centaur in Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone) are just two. The inclusion of interracial couples and a multi-racial cast has definitely sent out some very important messages about diversity to audiences.

I’ve read a few reviews that slate Disney’s presentation of LeFou as gay for the fact that his sexuality is supposedly adapted to screen as a tool of humour, rather than as a serious aspect of his identity. To some extent, I do agree that part of LeFou’s humorous appeal in the film is centred around his sexuality, however I don’t feel that there is anything sinister in this. For me, the humour was in the fact that Gaston was too self-absorbed to even take notice of LeFou’s over the top adoration of him. It’s all light hearted and he would have been a humorous character even if he was straight. His humour has more to do with his bubbly personality than it has to do with his sexuality. I think the reviews that imply his being gay is essentially what makes him funny in the film, is actually what plants the prejudice rather than the script itself.

Aside from this, there were lots of little humorous moments woven into the script and they really made for a more enjoyable watching experience. There was one moment when the enchanted household items were trying to convince the beast to smile at Belle and his attempt at a smile was this really funny, beastly grimace instead. The beast’s guzzling of his soup at the very grand dining table was another note worthy point of humour. Another moment was when the piano was asked to play during Belle’s dinner and he mentioned that he had cavities that were impacting his ability to properly play. Standout characters were definitely Lumier and Chip. Lumier was just fabulous the whole way through the film – he was so lively and enchanting – and as soon as I heard Chip’s voice, my heart melted – he was so cute!

The pace of the film felt just right. Nothing was unnecessarily prolonged and the romance was given just enough time to develop into something very believable. Belle and the beast’s interactions adapted perceptibly on screen from immediate distaste, to forcibly suffering one another’s company, to realising that they have quite a bit in common and then actually growing to enjoy spending time with one another.

I can’t stress enough how perfect this film was. For what feels like the first time ever on this blog, I literally don’t have one bad word to say about it. I loved all the songs, I loved all the magical elements and I loved the timeline of events and general piecing together of the fairytale. If you haven’t seen this yet, then you definitely have to go and see it in the cinema. It’s so worth the time and the money and I guarantee you will love it.

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