It has been a long time since I have had a good cry in the cinemas, and I don’t mean a good one solitary tear gallantly making its way down the side of my face as the music soars around. No I mean some good old fashioned weeping, the kind that makes you wish you had brought a hankie or at least some tissues as you try to compose yourself after as you thank God that you were not wearing any mascara because there would be no coming back from that. Well, today we look at a film that is all that and more.
So to set the scene, we open in New York City back in 1868 where Josephine “Jo” March (Saoirse Ronan) works as a teacher in a boarding house as she tries to be published as a writer. The publisher Mr Dashwood (Tracy Letts) is interested in her work, but it needed to be more salacious and the female characters must end the book either married or dead. In France, Jo’s sister Amy (Florence Pugh) is enjoying some time painting and finding a husband under the guidance of her Aunt (Meryl Streep) when she spies Theodore “Laurie” Laurence (Timothée Chalamet) a childhood friend of her and her sisters Meg (Emma Watson) and Beth (Eliza Scanlen), as well as the former suiter of Jo, in the gardens of Paris. It is a moment of joy, but there and across the Atlantic, there is a cloud on the horizon because the past is not going to stay in the past.
TL;DR – It is a beautiful recreation of the original film with a great cast and music, but while it is good, it does not do enough to separate itself from its animated inspiration.
Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars
Beauty and the Beast was the crown jewel of the Disney Renaissance in the 1990s and were one of the few animated films to ever be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. As a film, it is as majestic today as it was when it was released, and that’s a testament to the original songs and animation. So for any movie that adapts the classic La Belle et la Bête is going to have the issue of being compared to one of the greatest films that have been made, so how do you compete with such a legacy, how do you set your work apart from that classic film … well, how about you do a mostly shot by shot remake of the original. So not only is this the 3rd remake we have had in the row (see Power Rangers & Ghost in the Shell), it is also the next in this long line of live-action remakes of classic Disney films (see The Jungle Book) which only Pete’s Dragon has really worked for me. So with all these remakes floating around how does Beauty and the Beast compare with its past as well as the current cinematic landscape, well that is the question that we will be exploring today. Now since this is a movie based off a 1991 movie based on a story written in 1740 there may be some spoilers here, but the movie has been out for quite a while.