Disclaimer: I attended a complimentary media screening to facilitate my review of Beauty and the Beast. This post contains affiliate links.
Back in November of 1991, I was a newly minted 10-year-old. It was the perfect time for this tween, which wasn’t really a “thing” yet, to see a movie about an adventure-seeking, book loving girl. I loved the animated Beauty and the Beast. I saw it in the theater and then watched and re-watched it on VHS when it came out. So when I heard that a live action version would be coming to the big screen, I’ll admit it, I scrunched my nose and raised an eyebrow. I was certain that this was going to end badly. I couldn’t have been more wrong!
I was invited to see a media screening of the new live-action Beauty and the Beast starring Emma Watson as Belle. It was magnificent! Emma Watson was the perfect Belle. There was a minute of cognitive dissonance where I had to get over “Hermione” singing but that had more to do with what I brought the movie than Emma Watson’s performance. She was perfect. I can’t think of a better actor to star as Belle.
The costumes, sets, and casting were spot on. Oh, and the music, we can’t forget the music. It was a struggle not to sing along with all my favorites. I probably would have it I wasn’t at a media screening. All the classics were there plus a few new songs I didn’t recognize. I have been listening to the new soundtrack non-stop since it was released. I recommend the Deluxe version, it’s totally worth the few extra dollars. The whole village singing “Belle” was probably my absolutely favorite part of the whole movie. I really felt like that’s where the costume design and cinematography really shined. All of the ensemble numbers were breathtaking, though.
As much as I loved Belle, and I really, really did, Gaston might have been my favorite character in the live action version. There was just something about Luke Evans as Gaston. It’s easy to animate a beefy, over-the-top, musclehead but see him embodied in real life was amazing. His portrayal of Gaston was so on point. Josh Gad as LeFou was also excellent. He was the perfect comedic relief. The ensemble singing Gaston in the pub was another favorite scene in the film.
The one thing my inner 10-year-old had the hardest time with was the servants. Lumiere, Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts, and Chip were ingrained in my mind as these cute animated characters. It took me a few minutes to get excited about how realistic they looked in this version. After a few minutes to get used to how realistic they looked, I was right back in the movie and loving it. There was one notable exception about the servents. I LOVED what they did with Babette, the feather duster. In the animated version, she is a traditional feather duster. Here she is a beautiful peacock feather duster. Confession: peacocks are my favorite animal. It may have made me extra enthusiastic but I’m telling you. I loved her!
This review is all about what my inner 10-year-old thought of the movie, but I am also a mom. I will say that this movie might frighten younger children. If you remember from the original, there are wolves. So of course in this version, there are wolves and they are real. I could definitely see small children being frightened by those scenes. I would say 7 and above would probably enjoy this the most. The other option would be to show your kids the animated version first and see how they do.
The night before I saw the screening, a big controversy broke out over the film. I’m not really going to address it because I think it has been beaten to death. I will say that as a Christian, conservative mother, my entire family while be seeing Beauty and the Beast in the theater on opening weekend. If you’d like to read some more thoughts on the matter by someone much more eloquent than me, go check out Songs Kate Sang review.
I am so excited to share this movie with the rest of my family and I really hope you all head out to the theater and see it. I don’t think you will be disappointed. I mentioned that I was 10 years old when the original animated feature came out. I think it’s so special that my daughter is 9. It feels great being able to share this great story with my daughter.
I made her and I some fun shirts to wear to the movie and I will be sharing all about those soon!