As a child who grew up believing everything that Disney fed her grown-up life has turned out to be quite a disappointment. Prince Charming hasn’t materialised as yet (well, I’ll keep dreaming) and if I ran around the streets singing songs and talking to flowers I’d probably find myself locked up in Falkenburg. That said, I do love me a bit of Disney as it always allows you to escape this big bad world of Trump and Brexit. So learning that there would be a remake of Beauty and the Beast, one of the first films I saw at the cinema as a kid, was probably one of the best bits of news 2016 (not that it would have taken much)!
I’m sure I don’t need to waste your time regurgitating the story. Anyone with any sort of normal childhood knows this tale as old as time where a pretty book-ish girl gets captured by a beast (who is secretly a Prince) and over time learns to see past his ugly facade to fall in love with his beautiful soul. Blah, Blah, Blah. The 2017 version promised audiences a feminist retelling of yet another patriarchal fairy tale. Sadly though, critics have been quick to point out the many ways in which the movie falls short and fails to dispel the misogyny in the outdated story.
Probably the most significant difference in the latest version is that Belle has a job as an inventor of sorts (let’s be honest, this is a very minor element of the story). Therefore she is more than just someone’s daughter and this buys her a bit of independence and possibly the ability/confidence to be ‘picky’ when it comes to rejecting the local brain dead hottie, Gaston. There is also a scene where Belle promotes the importance of educating woman as she tries to teach a little girl how to read. Some people have pointed out that she also doesn’t wear a corset. But I think they are pretty much clutching at straws here because the whole feminist element pretty much stops there.
On the whole, the new version stays true to the original story. Male domination still plays a huge part in the story. Trapping girls in cages? Surely, even Christian Grey can learn a thing or two from the Beast. The fact that Belle eventually falls develops warm and fuzzy feelings towards her captor have led many to point our that the story probably has more to do with Stockholm Syndrome than it has to do with love. And then again what choice does she have? If you were imprisoned in some derelict old castle with only talk clocks, candles and teapots for company surely you’d fall for the Beast as ugly as he is because at least he can quote Shakespeare. Beggars can’t be choosers after all.
But enough of all this over-analyzing. Sure, the movie pretty much failed to meet the expectations of all the feminazis out there but you know what, they are probably also the same people that wouldn’t be happy unless Belle traded that pretty yellow ballgown for cargo pants and Doc Martens, or something equally vulgar (I’m a girly girl that appreciates the prettier things in life, so bite me!). But if you are looking for a form of escapism, some way to be transported away from a mundane Monday night then take yourself out to see this movie. The cinematography is just magical and the songs will leave you feeling all giddy inside. There is all-star cast and Chip, the teacup is still as precious as he was back in the day. So appreciate this revamped classic fairy tale for what it is. Watching a beautiful, ethnically diverse cast prancing and dancing alongside furniture that speaks provides a much-needed break from our reality, which right now really isn’t all that great so let’s stop being bitter old haters and just take this for what it is.
Rinsers – Have you seen the movie? What are your thoughts? Do you think every old story needs an update or is it OK to leave some things as are they are sometimes? Comment or rant in the bit below.