Disney displays equality and inclusion in the most beautiful way possible with Beauty and The Beast
Last night I attended the premier of the new Beauty and The Beast remake with my mom and little sister. I was probably more excited than the nine-year-old was, seeing how I watched the movie on repeat as a child (as I’m sure most 90s babies have). I am happy to report that the movie exceeded my expectations.
Emma Watson was radiant, powerful, and the most perfect Belle one could hope for. With Watson’s public stance on gender equality and her history of playing intelligent, strong female characters (shoutout to Hermione Granger), she was the perfect fit for Belle. Always reading and learning, not willing to settle for a man because of his looks or status, having truly good moral character, and jumping on the back of a horse without a care in the world if her bloomers are showing.
After I saw Maleficent I was extremely impressed with the progressive feminist twist it had on the classic story and Disney continued the trend with this adaptation. Since Belle’s character was already a great role model from the traditional story, Disney didn’t have to make many plot changes in order for the storyline to feel more progressive. But, what the movie did do impressively was add subtle moments that not only helped display Belle’s strength and inner beauty, but it also created inclusion for both the black and LGBT communities. What’s so beautiful about these moments and characters is that the way it was all portrayed was so effortless and simple.
Not to give away any spoilers, but there is one (kind of two) scenes where we find out that there is a gay character and it isn’t made into a big deal at all, which is what made it so beautiful. In the same way, there was a largely noticeable amount of black actors and actresses thrown into the mix, including the bookkeeper, Plumette, and Madame Garderobe. Of course all of the lead roles were still played by white actors and actresses, but it appeared to be a way of keeping the film as close to the original as possible while still diversifying it in a way that felt… shall I dare say normal?
Dan Stevens totally won over my heart as the Beast, which says a lot since the last roll I can recall him in is was the irrelevant boyfriend in Colossal. His charm and hidden loving nature were just as appealing when he had horns and face of brown fur as it was when he became a strapping prince charming who looks like he goes by the name Fabio. The concept of finding true love based on what’s on the inside may sound cliché and overdone, but this movie really breathed a whole new life into it.
In addition to the stunning casting and impeccable nuances of liberalism, Beauty and The Beast had some of the most beautiful costume and set design that I’ve ever seen. Of course the special effects were impressive by making realistic looking home goods speak, but the way that the clothing and scenery transported you into a rural French village and a magical castle of royalty was just so mesmerizing. From Belle’s blue work dress tucked on the side to show that she doesn’t give a damn what’s proper, to her iconic yellow gown completed with dazzling gold trim, to her embroidered winter cloaks, every outfit change was magic in itself. The men too, especially Beast and Gaston, wore beautiful fabrics and garment details that showed such strength in different ways. The red worn by Gaston felt like he brought home the blood of the war, while the royal blue worn by Beast gave a juxtaposing calm and safe feeling.
If I haven’t convinced you yet that you need to see this movie, then at least go to see Ewan McGregor as Lumière. The talking candlestick is funny and sweet and no one can resist singing along when he takes the lead in “Be Our Guest.”
If you’ve seen the movie then let me know what you thought!