“She glanced this way, I thought I saw… And when we touched, she didn’t shudder at my paw. No, it can’t be; I’ll just ignore… But then, she’s never looked at me that way before…” –The Beast
Every member of the family can view January’s Sustainable Love Movie of the Month. Walt Disney’s Beauty and The Beast (1991) is considered a classic animated film and received rave reviews from many a critic. The movie features a fairly simple storyline, 25 minutes of original music and characters that children and adults can fall in love with. It is one of those animated films that you can watch over and over again.
The movie, adapted from a traditional French fairytale, is set in medieval Northern France and follows the lives of two characters. The first main character is the prince who, after refusing a poor beggar woman shelter, is transformed into a Beast unless he can learn to love by his 21st birthday. The other main character is Belle, the most beautiful albeit oddest girl in her village. Gaston, a handsome yet villainous man will do almost anything to marry Belle.
When Belle goes to look for her missing father, she discovers him at the Beast’s castle and sacrifices her freedom for her father’s. Although things get off to a rough start between the mean-tempered beast and the equally stubborn Belle, she soon befriends the enchanted objects. Things begin to shift when the Beast rescues her from a vicious wolf pack and she takes care of his wounds at the castle. Both the Beast and Belle must put aside their pre-conceived notions about life and love in order to see who the other person really is. Finally, the Beast makes the ultimate sacrifice when he allows Belle to leave the palace when she learns of her father’s illness.
Back in the village, Gaston is trying to force her father to the insane asylum to force Belle to marry him. When she refuses him again, he goes after the Beast instead, leading the villagers along with him. An epic battle ensues, in which Belle comes just in time for the Beast to fight back against the monstrous Gaston. Regardless, Gaston stabs the Beast in the back before he falls to his death off the battlements. It seems apparent that the Beast will die until Belle finally admits that she loves him. Before her very eyes, Belle sees the Beast transformed into the handsome, kind prince he really is.
The appeal of Beauty and The Beast for me is not merely the fun characters, the enjoyable music or the fact that it’s hard to come by well-animated films these days, but that it is one of the only Disney movies that emphasize the healing power of love and allows you to really care for the characters involved. Belle learns to see the man inside him, even when he is still an ugly beast. The Beast, in turn, must put aside his selfishness when he finds himself beginning to fall for Belle. Both main characters grow and change throughout the movie and are rewarded in the end. In fact, even the supporting characters view the powerful magic of love. For it is love that turns the castle to its original glory and allows the objects to be human again.
So this month, when you’re looking for a movie to watch, look no further than Beauty and the Beast. Rediscover this classic tale of love and celebrate the healing power of sustainable love.