Belle and the Beast: Movie Review

bellebeast_dvd_lgOf all the stories I heard, and of all the Disney movies I watched when I was young, Beauty and the Beast was always my favorite.  There was something about the Beast’s rough exterior that appealed to me — all the while knowing that he just needed ‘someone’ to bring out his softer side.  That someone was Belle.  I always longed to be Belle, with her gorgeous yellow dress and that beautiful dance floor — dancing with the Beast, who, though hard to look at and sometimes fierce, was a Prince at heart.

Mom rented Belle and the Beast from Netflix, and last night she told us to watch it while she and dad went out.  I was not enthused at first because of the sacrilege it seemed to be to try to recreate such a classic story… especially because it is my favorite.  But we four sat down — my two sisters and my brother (much to his chagrin) — and popped the DVD in.

I will say I am not a fan of Christian romance books or movies.  I have found very few that are any deeper than your neighborhood mudpuddle and even fewer with true talent when it comes to the writing or acting.  Belle and the Beast is by no means a feat of cinematic expertise, but for a girl’s night, it does make a tear-jerking option.

The plot needs no explanation for anyone familiar with the story of Beauty and the Beast, which I wager that all of us are.  The difference is that it is set in modern times.  Belle is an ambitious and selfless young woman who goes to work for the city ‘Beast’, a wealthy man named Eric Landrie.  Through her influence, Eric’s hardened heart toward God begins to soften, as well as his demeanor.  He begins to fall in love with Belle. 

Belle also begins to care for Eric, but meanwhile she is trying to provide for her family along with her father, since her mother died several years before.  She not only works for Eric but also in an orthodontic office, while juggling her graduate studies as well.  She must also deal with the attentions of Craig, her coworker’s cousin, who does not seem to be easily dissuaded when it comes to his romantic intentions.  Yet through it all, Belle manages to maintain grace and composure, while still remaining true to her somewhat fiesty personality and adventurous tendencies.

I will not say that the acting is superb.  The lines are sometimes forced, and the script is occasionally wince-worthy, but if you can see past that, the modern twist on this classic tale makes Belle’s character all the more relevant and noticeable.  I found that seeing her person in a more recognizable setting allowed me to evaluate what made her who she was, and how I could make myself more like her.

Who knows, if I do, maybe I’ll meet a Beast!