Beauty and the Beast is a musical romantic fantasy directed by Bill Condon from a screenplay written by Stephen Chbosky and Evan Spiliotopoulos, and co-produced by Walt Disney Pictures and Mandeville Films. The film is a live-action adaptation of Disney’s 1991 animated film of the same name, itself an adaptation of Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont’s eighteenth-century fairy tale. While Beauty and the Beast is a timeless film and story is hasn’t lost it’s appeal. Every time it’s remade, it gets better and better. I’m so glad I decided to see it once again.
In Rococo-era France, a beautiful enchantress disguised as an old beggar woman (Hattie Morahan) arrives at a castle during a ball and offers the host, a cruel and selfish prince (Dan Stevens), a rose in return for shelter from the storm. When he refuses, she reveals her identity. To punish the prince for his selfishness, the enchantress transforms him into a beast and his servants into household objects, then erases the castle, the prince and his servants from the memories of their loved ones. She casts a spell on the rose and warns the prince that the curse will only be broken if he learns to love another, and earn their love in return, before the last petal falls.
Some years later, in the small town of Villeneuve, Belle (Emma Watson), the book-loving daughter of a music box maker and artist Maurice (Kevin Kline), dreams of adventure and brushes off advances from Gaston (Luke Evans), an arrogant former soldier. On his way to a convention and lost in the forest, Maurice seeks refuge in the Beast’s castle, but the Beast imprisons him for stealing a rose from his garden as a gift to Belle. When Maurice’s horse returns without him, Belle ventures out in search for him, and finds him locked in the castle dungeon. The Beast agrees to let her take Maurice’s place.
Belle befriends the castle’s servants, who invite her to a spectacular dinner. When she wanders into the forbidden west wing and finds the rose, the Beast scares her into the woods. She is ambushed by a pack of wolves, but the Beast rescues her, and is injured in the process. As Belle nurses his wounds, a friendship develops between them. The Beast shows Belle a gift from the enchantress, a book that transports readers wherever they want. Belle uses the book to visit her childhood home in Paris, where she discovers a plague doctor mask and realizes that she and her father were forced to leave when her mother (Zoe Rainey) succumbed to the plague.
While I’m sure everyone knows the story, I will not give any more of the story away in case you don’t know the story. I urge everyone to see Beauty and the Beast. It’s a delightful movie and well done. Beauty and the Beast is now available on DVD and Blu-ray. Check it out!
[Beauty and the Beast is Oscar nominated for Best Production Design and Best Costume Designs.]