Last week, I put on my prettiest dress – a 1950’s style frock covered in pink roses – and I made my way to the Odeon theatre. I was meeting with Mum that day, and we were going to see Beauty and the Beast. I first saw the trailer for it last year when I was at the movies with my husband and I squealed so loudly I’m sure I embarrassed him greatly! I knew my husband wouldn’t see this movie with me, no matter how much I pleaded. Thankfully, Mum wanted to see the movie and she actually invited me to join her.
Dressed up in a pretty floral dress, seeing Beauty and the Beast with my mum – it could have been a scene from 25 years ago. As soon as the opening music played, those haunting piano notes, I felt like a like a little girl again. Growing up, Beauty and the Beast was my favourite movie. I loved Belle, she was a bookworm like me. She was gentle and refined but was strong and had a sense of adventure. I remember loathing Gaston – what a rude man he was – and sympathetically warming towards the Beast. The talking homeware, the singing and oh, the dancing! It captured my little girl’s heart like no movie had done before.
Watching this movie took me back to those days, where I fell in love with the story of a beauty and her beast. But it was a different movie, richer and more complex. And I was different too. While I watched the first movie as a little girl, this movie I was watching as a woman. Back then, I liked how Belle and the Beast became friends. Now, I saw the mystery and the intricacy of falling in love. In this adaptation, the relationship between the two seemed much more developed, you could actually them connecting over common ground and growing closer, little by little. Maybe that was there in the first one too, but it would have gone straight over my head.
I cried at two points in the movie. The first was the ballroom scene, seeing the romance of the original replicated and elaborated. The second was the final scene, also a dancing scene, where everything was brought to its stunning conclusion. My favourite scene in the movie, though, was something much simpler and more understated. There’s a part where Belle helps the Beast to bond with her horse, Philippe. He reaches out to touch Philippe and the horse shows fear as he’d done before. But, with Belle’s prompting, he is able to rest his hand on the horse’s side, showing the gentleness that ‘wasn’t there before’. The beginning, maybe, of love.
Life is more complex, now I see it through a woman’s eyes, not a little girl’s. Love develops mysteriously, slowly. Everyone has a back story, has hidden layers and depths. I can never go back to those days when I was a little girl. But this new movie captured my heart as the first one did all those years ago. Yes, life is more complex now that I am grown, but I can also see that the tale as old as time is far more beautiful.