If you're anything like me, Beauty and the Beast holds a huge and special place in your heart. I remember seeing this movie in theaters at two years old and have been obsessed ever since. Belle is by far my favorite Disney princess. I could sing you every word of every song - just absolutely love this movie.
I was passing through Alabama this week and had the great luck of going to see one of my all-time favorite movies with two of my very best friends. Here are five (of many) reasons you should go see it ASAP:
1. It is perfectly cast.
Emma Watson is a knockout as Belle, of course, but the rest of the case is equally fabulous. Josh Gad as Le Fou will have you LOLing (along with all the children in the theater! And by the way - the big scandal over the "gay" moment?? Still have no idea what that's about even after having seen it. Way to go, #alabama). Ewan McGregor as Lumiere is so charming and truly fabulous. Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts - I mean, obviously. Audra McDonald and Stanley Tucci are divine. And when the Beast turns into Dan Stevens (hey, Downtown Abbey!) at the end - I don't think my heart has been that warm in weeks.
2. The music.
When I heard the opening bars of the score, my stomach flipped. Music really is such a powerful thing - it can take you back in time. The music in the movie all so great, but the highlights for me were the ensemble numbers. "Gaston," sung mainly by Josh Gad and Chris Evans (who plays a devastatingly evil and also hilarious Gaston) was a show-stopper. and "Be Our Guest" was as much of a treat for the eyes as it was for the ears. People actually clapped in the theater at the end of both these numbers!
3. It remains true to the original movie where it counts.
Yes, they added a little bit of plot. Yes, they added a little bit of music. But the big stuff - the important piece, and, in particular, the important songs, they (wisely) left completely alone. When the first strains of "Beauty and the Beast" started playing and Belle descended the stairs, it took my breath away. The live action scene was every bit as magical as the animated one all those years ago, and so was every other "moment" you remember so well.
4. It kicks everything up a notch.
This movie does a great job of heightening the intensity of a lot of plot elements without taking them to a place of ridiculousness. For example: Belle is revealed to be the only woman who can read in her town, which is why the Beast's library is such an amazing gift for her. Conversely, the Beast has read everything in the library, so literature becomes a huge point of connection for them. Gaston wields a gun, not a knife. We find out what happened to Belle's mom, and why Maurice has kept Belle so close all these years. We get a little more of the Beast's backstory. While some of these things probably could've been done without, it's definitely cool to see others of them and feel a little bit of a fresh take on something that's such a classic.
5. The message still shines through, years later.
I mean OBVIOUSLY I was in tears at the end of the movie. It's just so precious and powerful! The idea that it's possible to see the best in people, even through their worst behavior, is really just the idea of grace dressed up in a Disney movie. The last 15 minutes of this movie are so gut and heart-wrenching that it'll choke you up, with a triumphant, and beautiful ending that, even though you know is coming, still overwhelms you with joy and love.
Obviously, my girls and I loved it. Can't wait to hear what you think!