Beauty and the Beast a cinematic masterpiece – review

Beauty and the Beast is Disney’s latest live-action adaptation of an animated film and in my opinion, it’s the best one to date. Which is saying a lot. I’m not sure they can top this one.

The film is nothing short of a masterpiece. I saw it in IMAX, and I highly recommend the experience because it feels like you’re right there in the moment. The scenery, the costumes and the cinematography are all breathtaking.

Even the closing credits are designed to keep audiences enchanted. Most people leave at the first sign of a credit, but at the screening I attended, few budged.

Emma Watson plays Belle as a fully rounded individual. She is feisty, strong and intelligent. She’s a loving daughter and, as it turns out, exceptionally brave and clever.

Emma hits all the right notes as an actress. Her Belle is bemused by the small town folks that surround her. She wishes for something more than what she can find in the small provincial town, but retains a kind heart and a desire to help others.

At the same time, she’s unwavering and unapologetic when she needs to be, such as when she turns Gaston down as he tries to invite himself for dinner. It’s an inspiring scene for young women who may feel the need to make up an excuse when turning down unwanted advances. When Gaston asks Belle if she has other plans that night after she tells him he can’t come for dinner, she tells him no. And that’s that.

Speaking of hitting the right notes, Emma’s singing voice is sweet, clear and perfect for a lovely young woman such as Belle.

Despite having originated as an animated movie aimed at children, the characters in the live action Beauty and the Beast are not cartoonish. I fully expected Gaston and LeFou to be buffoons. Gaston (beautifully portrayed by Luke Evans) is annoying, but not laughable and he becomes downright frightening as the movie continues.

Josh GadJosh Gad and Luke Evans in Beauty and the Beast is charming as LeFou — I would even say completely adorable. When LeFou sang Gaston’s praises (in a song titled “Gaston”), he won my heart. Despite his shortcomings when his loyalty to Gaston puts people in danger, I still rooted for him to have the chance to make things right.

The household items (played by A-listers such as Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Emma Thompson and Ian McKellen) were believably portrayed — never over the top. The audience quickly warms to them as characters, and since they’re front and center for a good portion of the movie, that’s a good thing.

Although I would have preferred to have Céline Dion’s version of the song “Beauty and the Beast” included in the closing credits, her familiar voice is present with a new song — “How Does a Moment Last Forever.” Josh Groban also beautifully performs the Beast’s song, “Evermore,” during the closing credits.

I should add that Dan Stevens does a wonderful version of the song himself during the movie. He’s completely unrecognizable from his Downton Abbey role as Matthew Crawley — in fact, when he’s not the Beast, he appears much younger than he did in the British series. As the prince, prior to his transformation due to a curse, he’s a primping, arrogant jerk. It’s interesting to watch him slowly change as he gets to know Belle, while on the other hand, Gaston’s true nature gradually surfaces.

Since much has been made of LeFou’s character being gay, I hope this doesn’t deter audiences. He’s such a cheerful, loyal and sweet character and although it’s pretty clear he has a crush on Gaston, he doesn’t make any overtures and his feelings for Gaston are not returned. Gaston is far too in love with himself to notice anyone else’s feelings. There’s one moment towards the end during a very crowded dance scene in which LeFou and another male character find themselves together on the dance floor. They realize what has happened, smile at each other and continue to dance together as the camera cuts to something else. It lasts just seconds — if you blink, you’ll miss it.

This will go over the heads of very young children, and older children, even if they pick up on it, have seen gay characters in so many films and TV productions that it’s doubtful they would wonder about it. It’s hard to imagine anyone being upset or outraged by such an innocuous scene.

This movie should not be missed. Young and old, whether you have children or not, if you like adventure with a smattering of romance, beautiful costumes, interesting characters and movie sets that make you want to move in, you will absolutely love this film.

I wholeheartedly give Beauty and the Beast 5 out of 5 stars.

If you’ve seen Beauty and the Beast and would like to rate/review it, please click here.

Belle (Emma Watson) and Gaston (Luke Evans)

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Comments & Discussion

  1. Sue • March 16, 2017 @ 11:12 AM

    I found this movie refreshing whether it be in animation or live action. It’s better than the constant horror and violence of this real life we live in today. How I wish for a brighter and happier world where we can pay forward kindness to each other. Had to share how I felt being that I am personally at a very low point in my life and I love the movies as an escape even if it’s only for a little while. Spread some peace and love.

  2. Teedee • March 16, 2017 @ 5:46 PM

    I love this review and can hardly wait to see it! The trailers show what a wonderful film it’s going to be(I’m 60 and am planning to ask my 40 year old daughter to see it with me. 🙂
    p.s. to Sue in the first comment: I know what you mean about good movies being a necessary escape in our lives and I wish we lived in a better world as well. But we can at least do our part to make it a kinder place. I hope you feel better soon; I’ve been there, trust me. Warmest Regards.

  3. Sue • March 16, 2017 @ 6:13 PM

    Thank you Teedee, very much appreciated. I had actually written quite a bit more but they did some editing. Some people doing review were being so cruel and nasty to each other and I guess they didn’t want to rant on too much. I can’t wait to see this movie, I am so excited for a happy place. I too am 60 and still love animation to this day. Going out to see it this weekend. Take care, Sue

  4. Summer • March 17, 2017 @ 7:49 AM

    I agree, this is a great review and I definitely plan to see this movie, hopefully this weekend because it sounds amazing. I really like Emma Watson, can’t wait to see her as Belle and hear her sing.

  5. Tonya • March 20, 2017 @ 1:13 AM

    Simply put… a true masterpiece! The depth of emotion Disney pulled out of my core was completely unexpected. I found myself choking back tears over and over again during this film. The casting was perfect. The vocals… beautiful. The story behind the original cartoon unravels effortlessly. It stayed on par with the original and unveiled a character rawness that was breathtaking creating a beautiful, illusive story. Emma Watson stole my heart. She portrayed Belle gorgeously. I will watch this magical Disney film over and over again!!!

  6. CDubya • March 20, 2017 @ 11:30 AM

    I really dislike spending money to see anything other than action and adventure movies, but I know my wife would like to see this and frankly since having a daughter, I’ve warmed up to seeing films like this. So, last night we watched the animated version and now we will go see the live action.I agree, the world needs more Beauty and less bullets.

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