Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” the live action revival of the classic 1991 animation, took the box office by storm after its March 17 release, earning $462 million worldwide so far, according to Forbes. Telling the story of Belle, an intelligent girl living in France who falls in love with the Beast after seeing his true self behind his appearance, the revival is a tear-jerker, with bits of humor, love and music.
Throughout the film, there is more of a back story with certain characters. We learn more about Belle’s mother and how she passed, her family’s life before her and her father moved to the “little town/it’s a quiet village.” We also get a look on who the Beast was before he was cursed, how his upbringing was as a prince and of course, his sensitive side. There were many new songs throughout the film that added much more of a dramatic effect to certain scenes, with “Evermore” and “Days in the Sun” being tear-jerkers.
Emma Watson’s portrayal of Belle was a role meant for her. Watson, who studied English Literature at Brown University and is a bookworm herself, has told multiple media outlets that she’s loved the character Belle like anyone else. What was surprising from the movie was Watson’s singing voice. Although soft, there are hints of Auto-Tune, but her voice is still enjoyable. Songs like “Belle (reprised)” and “Something There” in the film show Watson’s vocal skills, you can’t help but sing along to the classics.
Dan Stevens, known for his role as Matthew Crawley on “Downton Abbey”, had the most engaging voice. His performance of “Evermore” is unforgettable. Although some media outlets state that Stevens isn’t “attractive enough” to play the Beast, it’s surprising that it really needs to matter. Stevens’ performance was nonetheless entertaining and engaging, and even if he’s not attractive enough, his portrayal of the Beast was still on point.
Of course, the ever-so-likable Gaston was played by none other than Luke Evans, who was perfect for the role. His vocals were also surprising, while performing in “Belle” and “Gaston.” His sidekick, LeFou, played by Josh Gad, who has also voiced Olaf in “Frozen,” was a great match for the comedy in the film. During the performance of “Gaston,” LaFou realizes that he’s illiterate, unable to spell Gaston’s name at the end of the song. During “Belle,” while Gaston gazes at his hopefully future wife Belle and he claims she fills a void in him, LaFou recommends a “Je ne sais quoi?” Gaston says he doesn’t know what it means, although the film takes place in France! The duo added the comedy that the film needed, making it much more enjoyable, even if you did want to punch Gaston at the end.
As for the rest of the film’s cast, big names like Sir Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts and Stanley Tucci as Maestro Cadenza were all wonderful additions to the film. Characters like Plumette, played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Madame Garderobe, played by Audra McDonald, had much bigger roles in the film than in the original. Ewan McGregor as Lumière brought the classic “Be Our Guest” to life, making the scene one of, if not the most, enjoyable scene in the whole film. With the song being so popular, you couldn’t help but sing along.
The nostalgia throughout the film is what made it a tear-jerker. The night I saw the film, a friend of mine and I went out for appetizers beforehand, and one of the managers told us that many people in the restaurant had seen the film, and many of them cried. The film isn’t sad, but you tear up when Lumière is singing about not being able to hold Plumette again, or when Belle sings about her childhood in Paris. It’s seeing these characters from your childhood be brought to life that gets to you, making it all more enjoyable.