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PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2020 12:06 am 
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I just wanted to point out that the Beast not remembering how to read is not in the original 1991 version of the film, I know it was originally intended and then was put in the special edition. Even so, him not remembering to read was a part of him losing his humanity and trying to remember was him trying to gain his humanity back. Out of all the things they added in the special edition this was not one of my problems with it. Anyway compare Special Edition Beast reaction to Belle reading Romeo and Juliet to Live Action Beast's reaction.

To me Frozen II and Live Action Beauty and the Beast aren't comparable. I still could find good things in Frozen II despite its major flaws, whereas with Beauty and the Beast I guess I thought only Maurice was good.


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PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2020 12:47 am 
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Yes farerb, that's true.

JeanGreyForever wrote:
He was a prince but he had a long and complicated backstory with his mother and fairy drama that intertwined with Belle's family. And as the Beast, he could still read and was a perfect gentleman. His only fault was his appearance which he hadn't used as an excuse to get bitter and ferocious.

It came across as a masculine/feminine thing since Belle reminds the Beast that King Arthur has romance too, the implication being that the Beast avoids admitting to liking Romeo and Juliet because it's a romance and not tough enough.

I suppose your Frozen II experience is what I had with this film.

I'm not sure Cinderella is the type of gravitas role in general.

Well, in the Beaumont version he was a gentleman to Belle, too. He was only bad to Belle's father when he stole a rose, and yes, he was very bad, but...hm...now that I think about it, if that Beast really was gonna kill Belle's father for stealing a rose, he was really irredeemable.

I saw it as he didn't like soft and gentle stuff like romance, not because it was girly, but because it was not his cup of tea. I think the masculine/feminine side of it can be read into or not in it at all and it works both ways.

I thought any good actress could bring gravitas to any role where someone has to deal with tough obstacles and emotional pain.

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PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2020 2:17 am 
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Disney Duster wrote:
Well, in the Beaumont version he was a gentleman to Belle, too. He was only bad to Belle's father when he stole a rose, and yes, he was very bad, but...hm...now that I think about it, if that Beast really was gonna kill Belle's father for stealing a rose, he was really irredeemable.

I would even say that locking him because of a rose was completely petty. I think that's why they didn't include it in the original and reworked the rose to be a ticking clock. In the original, Maurice was the first stranger who stepped into the castle after the Enchantress cast the curse, so it plays into the Beast's fears and insecurities about strangers and also it conveys to the audience that the Beast still doesn't know how to treat guests (or more accurately how to help and host people in need). Changing that in the remake undermines that theme of the original. Regarding the original tale, it was more Belle's story than the Beast's (while the Disney film changed that) so the Beast didn't really need to redeem himself, though I do agree that threatening someone over a rose is ridiculous and probably wouldn't come out right for a modern film and audience and I'm glad they changed it.

Disney Duster wrote:
I saw it as he didn't like soft and gentle stuff like romance, not because it was girly, but because it was not his cup of tea. I think the masculine/feminine side of it can be read into or not in it at all and it works both ways.

I think that's part of Disney's faux feminism take like in most of their remakes. Meaning if it's feminine and aimed for women than it's worth of contempt, but that's how I feel and it's in line with the film trying to "fix" not-so-feminist-eventhough-she-was-written-by-a-woman original Belle, and even now checking it, seems like the director, producers and writers are all men.
Regardless I think that belittling or demeaning someone else's taste is wrong no matter what their reason is.

I watched the scene again, it goes like this (I copied from a transcript):

BELLE
So you know Shakespeare?
THE BEAST
I had an expensive education.
BELLE
Actually, "Romeo and Juliet" is my
favorite play.
THE BEAST
Why is that not a surprise?
BELLE
Sorry?
THE BEAST
All that heartache and pining and --
(a beastly shudder)
There are so many better things to
read.
BELLE
Like what?

And then he goes to show her the library with smugness. Also take into consideration that when he says "Why is that not a surprise?" He does it with rolling his eyes. This Beast is the worst.

It's even more striking how awful he is when you put the scene next to the original/special edition:

https://youtu.be/RUnmNpMT2Nc

VS

https://youtu.be/liWy9k7lG1g

https://youtu.be/7tGm3Jf2Hv4


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PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2020 12:00 pm 
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The comparison between the two is really a summation of the whole issue with remake. Why change it to Beast being snarky about reading and the library? It was much better when he's giving the library as a gift as he is making genuine attempts to do something nice to her after the way he's behaved throughout the first chunk of the movie also showing how much different he is from Gaston who scoffed at the idea of Belle reading.

I'm not sure how to say this. But I get the feeling modern Hollywood seems to be under the impression having a dude object to things that are deemed romantic or girly is the only way to depict them. Well, I'm a guy and I like Shakespeare, old romantic fairy tales and Disney princess movies.


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PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2020 1:00 am 
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Farerb, if the Beast really was going to kill someone over a rose, then that is a flaw in the story, even if it's "Belle's story" and not the Beast's. Why would we want Belle to end up with such a terrible person? The only possible excuse is the Beast was never really going to kill Belle's father and instead was bluffing to get him to get one of his daughters to go to his castle. Otherwise, I completely agree with the rest of your post. Very smart observation about how the Disney Beast feels about stranger's coming to his castle and how he doesn't know how to treat them.

Tristy, that you are a guy and love all that stuff is awesome!!!

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PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2020 1:16 am 
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Tristy wrote:
The comparison between the two is really a summation of the whole issue with remake. Why change it to Beast being snarky about reading and the library? It was much better when he's giving the library as a gift as he is making genuine attempts to do something nice to her after the way he's behaved throughout the first chunk of the movie also showing how much different he is from Gaston who scoffed at the idea of Belle reading.

I'm not sure how to say this. But I get the feeling modern Hollywood seems to be under the impression having a dude object to things that are deemed romantic or girly is the only way to depict them. Well, I'm a guy and I like Shakespeare, old romantic fairy tales and Disney princess movies.

I agree with you completely. It was a really stereotypical scene imo and the gender politics will not age well, never mind that it was a man who wrote Romeo and Juliet, and in an era when women didn't write. Funny how the remake tried to pretend that they lived in a France where young girls can't receive an education or be allowed to read or write but they ignored the fact that "silly romance novels" would only exist under the pen of men.

farerb wrote:
Disney Duster wrote:
Well, in the Beaumont version he was a gentleman to Belle, too. He was only bad to Belle's father when he stole a rose, and yes, he was very bad, but...hm...now that I think about it, if that Beast really was gonna kill Belle's father for stealing a rose, he was really irredeemable.

I would even say that locking him because of a rose was completely petty. I think that's why they didn't include it in the original and reworked the rose to be a ticking clock. In the original, Maurice was the first stranger who stepped into the castle after the Enchantress cast the curse, so it plays into the Beast's fears and insecurities about strangers and also it conveys to the audience that the Beast still doesn't know how to treat guests (or more accurately how to help and host people in need). Changing that in the remake undermines that theme of the original. Regarding the original tale, it was more Belle's story than the Beast's (while the Disney film changed that) so the Beast didn't really need to redeem himself, though I do agree that threatening someone over a rose is ridiculous and probably wouldn't come out right for a modern film and audience and I'm glad they changed it.

Disney Duster wrote:
I saw it as he didn't like soft and gentle stuff like romance, not because it was girly, but because it was not his cup of tea. I think the masculine/feminine side of it can be read into or not in it at all and it works both ways.

I think that's part of Disney's faux feminism take like in most of their remakes. Meaning if it's feminine and aimed for women than it's worth of contempt, but that's how I feel and it's in line with the film trying to "fix" not-so-feminist-eventhough-she-was-written-by-a-woman original Belle, and even now checking it, seems like the director, producers and writers are all men.
Regardless I think that belittling or demeaning someone else's taste is wrong no matter what their reason is.

I watched the scene again, it goes like this (I copied from a transcript):

BELLE
So you know Shakespeare?
THE BEAST
I had an expensive education.
BELLE
Actually, "Romeo and Juliet" is my
favorite play.
THE BEAST
Why is that not a surprise?
BELLE
Sorry?
THE BEAST
All that heartache and pining and --
(a beastly shudder)
There are so many better things to
read.
BELLE
Like what?

And then he goes to show her the library with smugness. Also take into consideration that when he says "Why is that not a surprise?" He does it with rolling his eyes. This Beast is the worst.

It's even more striking how awful he is when you put the scene next to the original/special edition:

https://youtu.be/RUnmNpMT2Nc

VS

https://youtu.be/liWy9k7lG1g

https://youtu.be/7tGm3Jf2Hv4
Disney Duster wrote:
Farerb, if the Beast really was going to kill someone over a rose, then that is a flaw in the story, even if it's "Belle's story" and not the Beast's. Why would we want Belle to end up with such a terrible person? The only possible excuse is the Beast was never really going to kill Belle's father and instead was bluffing to get him to get one of his daughters to go to his castle. Otherwise, I completely agree with the rest of your post. Very smart observation about how the Disney Beast feels about stranger's coming to his castle and how he doesn't know how to treat them.

Tristy, that you are a guy and love all that stuff is awesome!!!

In the original fairy tale, the fairy tells Beast to use the rose as an excuse to get Belle's father to bring her to the castle. We only find this out at the end when everything is explained, so actually there was no significance to the theft of the rose nor was the Beast really angry. When Beaumont wrote her abridged version of the story, the entire backstory was removed so the Beast has no reason to imprison Belle's father except for being petty that a rose was stolen. The live-action version followed this because Beaumont's version of the story is the definitive one now.

It comes across as no surprise to me that the remake was entirely created by men so a scene like that would exist. And to think they felt they could create a more feminist and empowered Belle than the original. And yes, those two scenes back to back just further highlight how terrible the remake's characterizations were.

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PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2020 1:23 am 
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farerb wrote:
I just wanted to point out that the Beast not remembering how to read is not in the original 1991 version of the film, I know it was originally intended and then was put in the special edition. Even so, him not remembering to read was a part of him losing his humanity and trying to remember was him trying to gain his humanity back. Out of all the things they added in the special edition this was not one of my problems with it. Anyway compare Special Edition Beast reaction to Belle reading Romeo and Juliet to Live Action Beast's reaction.

To me Frozen II and Live Action Beauty and the Beast aren't comparable. I still could find good things in Frozen II despite its major flaws, whereas with Beauty and the Beast I guess I thought only Maurice was good.

True, it was an addition to the Special Edition after being deleted although the idea was also there because of the Broadway show. Which is why I'm not sure why the remake opted for this idea that the Beast is so literary because it takes away from his bestial elements. He can't be that inhuman if he's a fan of Shakespeare after all.

There are some things I do like in the remake like Audra McDonald and Luke Evans but I agree that I'm not fond of most of it. I liked Kevin Kline as Maurice but he's really not that memorable compared to the animated film. I understand why they sobered him up though for live-action.

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PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2020 1:43 am 
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Oh, farerb and JeanGreyForever, I think it sounded like I agreed that the Beast was saying romance was girly. I think he just didn't like it because it was not his cup of tea, and he was saying he thought Belle was such a sweet, loving girl she would love romance.

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Last edited by Disney Duster on Sat May 23, 2020 1:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2020 1:44 am 
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Disney Duster wrote:
Tristy, that you are a guy and love all that stuff is awesome!!!


Thank you! And I also happen to be a Beatrix Potter fan. :)


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PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2020 2:16 am 
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I never read her stuff myself, but I think my mom read me Peter Rabbit! I saw some of that movie about Beatrix Potter, but didn't see enough to know how I felt. It was cool from some of my memories I guess.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 11:48 pm 
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This is hilarious. I've never seen a outfit abused more on social media than this dress.
https://www.instagram.com/p/B-0AeGDFzhY/

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2020 12:38 am 
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The dress looks even worse drawn there! Belle stole the good dress! Lol yes, I found that whole post funny, and I love sassy Cinderella!

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2020 12:45 am 
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It looks so tragic like Cinderella is back in rags again lol. And I agree with her, Belle needed a fairy godmother not a wardrobe styling her. Or Wardrobe should have dressed her up in something more like what the human form of Wardrobe wore in the film because her costumes were great.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2020 1:51 am 
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Haha, yes, it was like rags. And yes, Madame de Garderobe should have just given her a costume like hers! She had great costumes!

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2020 3:31 am 
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Gonna play devil's advocate for a moment because the whole "Beast reads" topic has, in my opinion, been mis-interpreted as negging in the live-action film when - at least in how I read the scene - it's probably the furthest thing from Beast's mind.

First off, I never liked that Beast didn't know how to read in the Broadway musical or the Special Edition. This was a character trait written in from the very start (well, at least as early as the June 1990 draft), but one that didn't need to be put in there. It lowers Beast - who, lest we forget, was brought up as a royalty. Not even someone as petulant as him would ever have gone through his formative years without learning to read. If he were actually a prince, he'd have to have the education that goes with it, nobody would have allowed him to go this long without reading. Nowhere in the scenes (be it the June 1990 draft, the 1994 libretto, or the 2002 Special Edition) does it indicate that he was well-read but was losing it as part of the curse. It's literally a line that explains "just a little, and long ago." That's it, that's all we can garner about Beast's literary education. It's such a waste, it's no wonder they dropped that aspect of him (as well as "Human Again" for the pacing purposes) in 1991.

Now, we cut to 2017 and the first thing we learn about Belle is that her town's library has literally just 12 books (count the spines, it's either 12 or 13, but toward the end it gets very close together so I can't tell. For argument's sake, let's say 12). In the "Belle" sequence, she goes to visit Père Robert, and she's literally just borrowing another book that she's likely read over and over before, but as he's the only one in town with a library, it's slim pickings. When all you know of the world comes from what little education this town has given you, along with the dozen books at the church, you're going to have a very small world view no matter how many times you read those books. And yet, Belle is likely the most intelligent person in this town, which is another reason why everyone sees her as an outcast. Intellect is power, and the men of the town would rather not have the women gain this power, hence why they don't want their girls to read. So to have someone like Belle having read through ALL THE BOOKS IN TOWN threatens their status quo. First she'll teach girls to read, then they'll learn there's more to this town than the domestic life, and it will uproot all the traditional roles that they've played for generations. "A little learning is a dangerous thing," indeed.

Beast, on the other hand, has ROOMS full of books. So much so that he knows he'll probably never read through all of them (some are in Greek, after all.) Just one SECTION of one WALL in one ROOM holds ten times as many books as the entire town. Given that the library seems to be made up of multiple rooms, that's a whole lot of books. And that's just the part of the library that we can see. Expensive education, he calls it. But intelligence, again, is power. As a royal, he was born into it, and so he knows immediately what kind of importance reading is. It just would NOT do for him to not know how to read. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Let's then take a look at the scene right before the big library reveal, when Belle is reciting from A Midsummer Night's Dream, from memory. Midway through, Beast finishes the lines, also from memory. Because he knows it. Intimately. You don't just remember things like that off-hand. You remember them because you've read them over and over again. This is what happens with your favorite books, your favorite songs, your favorite movies. The parts you want to remember, you keep in your head for immediate recall. Beast knows A Midsummer Night's Dream because he's read it enough times to recall key passages at will. And so when Belle questions, "You know Shakespeare?" he responds, quite dryly, "I had an expensive education." It's not a form of bragging, just an acknowledgement that - as a prince - he's benefited quite greatly in schooling.

So, imagine two outcasts, sitting together, and realizing they have a common interest: both know Shakespeare. It's more than likely that Beast has read all 39 plays and 154 sonnets written by Shakespeare. But he's reciting from A Midsummer Night's Dream. It's the one he knows the best, so for argument's sake, let's say it's his favorite. Belle, on the other hand, knows at least two: A Midsummer Night's Dream (because she's reciting it) and Romeo and Juliet. Now, I doubt all 12 books on Père Robert's shelf are the complete works of Shakespeare. It's more than likely that she knows only those two plays. The optimist in me hopes she also knows something like Much Ado About Nothing or The Tempest, but that's more speculation than I should offer.

Now, this is not an even playing field. Both know Shakespeare, but both are basing their opinion based on how much they know of Shakespeare. So for Belle to offer, "Romeo and Juliet is my favorite play," that's all fine and dandy. Of the two she knows, she has a favorite.

But, remember, they were reciting A Midsummer Night's Dream. By heart. Again, speculation, but that one's probably Beast's favorite. In that moment, they could have shared in their love of that play. But Belle picks - again through no fault of her own, she only knows two Shakespeare plays - one of the most problematic plays written by Shakespeare. A love story, and not just a love story, but a DOOMED love story. Where a seventeen year old boy falls for a thirteen year old girl, but in the span of four days, everybody dies. It could easily be more bloody than frickin' Titus Andronicus. Yes, the play has plenty of romantic scenes. The Balcony Scene is easily most iconic. But the message of the play is pure tragedy: not even the love between two kids could unite two feuding families.

So, imagine being Beast, having been cursed to love another and earn their love in return. And he's mostly given up on that by this point in his life. But he still has A Midsummer Night's Dream memorized. It is, for all intents and purposes, the happy ending that he wants, regardless if he'll ever actually get it in real life or not.

And then, to hear that the one girl who could possibly break his curse loves a play where EVERYBODY DIES... frick, I'd be pissed. They were having a great moment reciting Helena's lines about how love looks beyond the physical (remember, Helena is the one pining for Demetrius, who would rather have Hermia), perhaps that glimmer of hope for Beast because it would mean someone could love him despite his outward appearance. And instead, again, Belle brings up the tragedy that is Romeo and Juliet. This is not Beast hating girly romances and negging Belle for liking them. This is Beast hating unhappy endings. This is Beast not believing that Belle thinks tragic romances are the best. This is Beast, reminded of his own fate, trying to remember why a happy ending is worth fighting for. Because, at heart, he still wants a happy ending. That's why he prefers A Midsummer Night's Dream, which, spoiler alert, has a happy ending for everyone.

"Why is that not a surprise?" could be problematic. But again, consider that Beast has likely read all 39 plays and 154 sonnets. Imagine being so well versed in something, discovering that someone else likes that same thing as you, but they pick what is arguably the basic stock answer. It's like when someone says "I love The Beatles" but they only know a couple songs from one album. "You know Shakespeare? I love Romeo and Juliet" could, from Beast's perspective, be seen as basic. It could be read as gatekeeping in the fandom, but I'd prefer not to see it as such. Rather, he's just annoyed that of all the plays to pick, she picks the one that anybody could pick. It paints her as basic like everyone else, and he doesn't want her to be basic. She's better than that, and she can do better than Romeo and Juliet.

(We should remember, too, that Belle was brought up in a town that hates her and her ways. She's lived among people that don't want her to learn, men that just want her as a housewife, etc. The optimism of A Midsummer Night's Dream probably seems more a pipe dream to her, whereas the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet probably speaks to her loneliness and her, at the time, realistic expectation that although she wants more in life, she probably won't get it if she stays in that town. When you live your whole life with people telling you to stop being you, an escape like Romeo and Juliet, even if it ends in death, is better than the reality. Plus, we all go through an angsty phase and R&J is perfect for that.)

"All that heartache and pining and [groan]" becomes less of a grievance towards Belle's taste in plays, but more Beast's grievance toward the play in question, especially its ending. The last thing he wants is an unhappy ending. And he doesn't want Belle loving an unhappy ending. "There are many better things to read" then becomes Beast, without having to fully admit it, saying he prefers a happy ending. He's an old romantic, and he'll be damned if someone else prefers Romeo and Juliet and all its weepy "all are punished" end.

But the clincher, the thing that totally changes Beast's intent with this conversation, is Belle asking, "Like what?"

We cut immediately from that line to Beast showing her his library. "Well, there are a couple things in here you can start with." Now, realistically, I doubt after she asked what else to read, Beast got up, said nothing at all, and then resumed the conversation once they opened the door. So, and this is where we get into more speculation, but speculation that befits both characters, we can assume that Beast would probably have suggested another title or two, which Belle - again, coming from a town with twelve books - more than likely never heard of. And so, Beast would remember that his education and Belle's education are clearly not equal. If this were any other man in the film, they'd want to keep it that way. The men in the village, Gaston, etc. Give a girl a book, she'll ask for a shelf. And Beast, princely and regal and brought up with an education that would befit a ruler, could easily withhold the library from Belle. Keep her in her place, as all women have been.

So, instead of sticking to the town's status quo, he takes her to his library and offers it to her carte blanche. "There are a couple things in here you can start with." Meaning she would no longer be restricted to the same twelve books. Meaning that she can have just as much, if not more, of an education than he had. "If you like it so much, then it's yours." To imagine the sheer scale of twelve books versus his library, he is giving her not just the entire world that she knew, but also the neighboring planets, the nearby star systems, the entire Milky Way galaxy - you know what, it's the whole damn Virgo Supercluster.

In the 1991 film, it's a great gesture of kindness, knowing that she likes books, and that she would appreciate it. It's a great moment, one that helps start them becoming friends. There's no context to it beyond "I want to do something for her." Pure selflessness, which I love. I love the 1991 film to bits and will always prefer it to 2017, but sometimes there are moments just get amplified in the latter film. And gifting the library is one of those moments.

In the 2017 film, it becomes a power move in Belle's favor. Yes, they can still bond over their favorite poems and authors (the very next scene has them reciting William Sharp despite him not being born until 1855 whilst the film's pre-Revolutionary France setting puts it at least 75 years before Sharp's birth), but by Beast gifting Belle his library, he is acknowledging both just how privileged he has been, and how he wants to give that same privilege to Belle, after she had been denied it all her life. Thus, the gift has so much more weight in 2017 than it does in 1991. 1991's film just has Gaston saying "it's not right for a woman to read" after she had left a bookshop (curiously, she seems to be the only customer, never actually buys books, and always gets the same one despite the animated wall having ten times as many books as the live-action shelf), and then that's all we know about the town's feelings towards Belle reading. 2017's film stresses time and again that Belle having this kind of intelligence, and wanting more of it, is seen as a threat to the community. So it's a pretty big deal for Beast, born into privilege and knowing what this privilege means for the throne, to offer this kind of privilege to Belle as well.

And, again, Beast is a softie. He still prefers a happy ending, otherwise he wouldn't have memorized A Midsummer Night's Dream. So, on some level, giving Belle his library would give her the chance to discover all the happy endings in the world, all the books she would ever want to read, all the knowledge that is contained within it. If he can't have a happy ending, she can.

So, in short, no, he's not ragging on her for her taste in books. Rather, he is giving her the opportunity to learn so, so much more than what her town has to offer, what her life has to offer, because at the heart of it all, he still believes in the happy ending.

Alby

P.S. there were plenty of female authors in the 18th and 19th centuries, including the very author of Beauty and the Beast so I don't get the argument that women didn't write during this time. Women's writing were seen as inferior to men at the time, but that's more the toxic masculinity of the past 1000 years rather than an assessment of their writing quality. And the western literary canon focuses mainly on the men because historically it was the men that decided the literary canon, but dig deep enough and one can find a whole binder full of women authors whose last names aren't Austen or Bronte or Shelley. English novelist E.M. Forster even comments on the unfair erasure of women writers in 1908's A Room with a View with the minor character Eleanor Lavish, who writes under a pen name rather than her own. The 1985 film plays around with this by having haughty Cecil read aloud from her book, only to mispronounce her last name.

P.P.S. I hope I don't come across as hating Romeo and Juliet. On the contrary, I like it a lot. But it is still a very problematic play that I feel has lost some of its dramatic impact because it's always taught to high school freshmen and has garnered a misinformed reputation as the ultimate romance when it never was supposed to be. It's a bawdy cautionary tale, and tragic for a reason. Full disclosure, my favorite Shakespeare play is A Midsummer Night's Dream, but I don't want to say that my Shakespearean preferences also factored into my reading of Belle and the Beast in the 2017 film. That play has its own problems, too (such as the fact that Demetrius is never cured of his magic spell, so does he actually really love Helena? And is Helena fine living with a man that, as a result, doesn't actually love her the way she loves him?). Rather, if we look at the message of both those plays in relation to the characterization of Belle and Beast, we can see why Beast would prefer one to the other, and why Belle - intelligent that she is but living in a world that hates her for it - would pick the other one.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:28 am 
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So there's a lot to unpack here and I appreciate you playing devil's advocate for this film especially since it gets a lot of flack here (especially from me lol) and I know you quite enjoy it.

Your concerns about the animated Beast not knowing how to read are legitimate. However, I don't think it's really that outlandish. There have been cases of royals who could get by without ever having to read or write particularly when they had servants and scribes who would cater to them all their lives and do the work for them. There would never been much of a reason to read or write, even if they did receive a royal education and were taught, because they wouldn't need to exercise those skills much later on in life. If they would want to send a letter, they would dictate to a scribe what to say. If a diplomat presents them with an official document, a herald or some other designated servant would read aloud the document. Without constant practice and repetition, it's not unbelievable that you might not be able to retain those skills. I was taught how to read and write Arabic as a child and while I can still sorta read it (although not very well), I've completely forgotten how to write it.

And going back to the Beast, the only way I can see him getting a proper education is if his parents were alive. If they were killed off when he was super young and he's been pampered by the servants his whole life, I don't find it outrageous that he wouldn't know how to read or write. It's clear the servants did whatever he said because in many adaptations (the musical, live-action film, etc.) they admit to being complicit for the Beast's cruel nature. Royalty had absolute authority and without a King, Queen, Prince, or Princess to ensure the young prince received an education, there would be no third-party figure or overseer standing over the young prince and making known that not learning how to read or write isn't an option. If the prince truly is the only authority figure in the household because he's been orphaned, he would have absolute rule as the sole royal. Cogsworth the majordomo isn't going to stand up to him especially when he could be sacked or killed for doing so. There was no regent in the Beast's place because this wasn't a kingdom with a line of succession so the young prince's education wasn't 100% mandated to ensure the proper laws of governance. The Beast was likely a minor prince, of which many existed in France at the time, so if he absolutely demanded that he doesn't want to learn how to read or write OR even if he did learn the bare minimum but then decides he never wants to do it again and expand on his schooling, he would likely be the final authority on that. Like I said, there was no regent or other royal figure in the household to watch over the Beast's education especially because this wasn't a kingdom with him as the crown prince or anyone remotely in the line of succession. I believe in the animated film he learned the basics and not much beyond that and he certainly didn't expand on his education considering how spoiled and petulant he was.

You've made a very thorough case about why Beast would be taken aback at Belle's love for Romeo and Juliet in the live-action film but I don't believe all of your points quite follow. For starters, you claim the Beast is well aware of his privilege in his education and that he gifts Belle the library in order to share his privilege with her and essentially empower her, unlike Gaston or the men in the village (a reading of that scene I quite like btw. It does carry more weight than the animated film in that regard). However, if this is true, how can he be so offended with Belle only knowing Shakespeare because of Romeo and Juliet? Doesn't that make him hypocritical as he would be aware that her upbringing would only allow her to read a scanty few books whereas he has almost a whole stadium of books, yet he believes that Belle only having read one of Shakespeare's books is somehow meant to be offensive to him? Shouldn't he be more understanding then of why she might only know Shakespeare's most famous work if he acknowledges that she didn't receive a lofty education as he did?

You said you would be pissed if the girl meant to break the curse happened to love the play where everyone dies. Ok, you're entitled to your feelings but isn't that a bit of an overreaction to feel angry at this girl because her favorite happens to not feature a very happy ending? Isn't that awfully toxic of the Beast that he's forcing this girl to fall in love with him and believes he's entitled to her feelings just because she's the only girl in the castle and thus the only girl with the power to break the curse on him at the moment? Would it be less offensive if Belle also had a sister and then the Beast knows that if Belle may not be into him, at least he's got a chance with his sister? It doesn't feel like true love on his part if he's only interested in her because she could break the curse on him because that means any woman who ended up there would have been the recipient of his feelings. To get angry because this girl won't automatically conform to his wishes and play the part in breaking the spell, especially when she owes him nothing since he's entrapped her, is very toxic and problematic to me. If Belle wants to love him, she has the right to do so but she should not be expected to fall in love with him because the Beast ordered her too or expects it as his entitled right and if he can't recognize that, then he clearly hasn't changed and isn't deserving of her love.

And frankly, the live-action film messed up by letting Belle know about the curse in the first place. The animated film and the original fairy tale refrain from letting her know and the fairy tale especially states that Belle could not know the truth and the Beast was forbidden to tell her. I can't remember exactly but in the live-action film, Belle might know about the curse from the objects but is the Beast aware that Belle knows? If he thinks she is still in the dark about his past, isn't that even more unfair of him to hold her taste in one play against her because it happens to feature two tragic lovers and this is an insult to him because somehow that dictates that surely she'll never love him because she'd rather he get a tragic ending as well? All because her favorite Shakespeare play ends that way? The thinking really does not line up here.

Another thing you've failed to account for is Belle's own backstory. You expanded on the Beast's and why you believe he is educated but frankly from the sounds of how you've addressed Belle, she's no more than a country bumpkin. And that couldn't be further from the truth. The original fairy tale established that Belle and her family were not only very wealthy but also very well educated. They were not titled or nobility in the slightest, but they were in elite circles in the city and were all well-bred and educated. The animated film doesn't dive deep into this backstory but the opening lines of Belle flat out say "every morning just the same since the morning that we came to this poor provincial town." That means Belle remembers a life before living in this town so going by the fairy tale, her backstory is likely similar. Especially since she clearly doesn't fit in with the villagers and they look down on her and think she's odd. What would make her stick out even more than if she was in fact a stranger to this village in the first place and only came to live here after her father lost his wealth, forcing them to be "exiled" to obscurity? Belle is clearly not like the village women and she's far more intelligent and learned than them and it's because she had a whole life and upbringing before this little town. Belle may not have received a royal education but the rich at that time weren't far off in terms of opportunities and education and considering the fact that Belle's father was an inventor and eccentric and not against women reading and pursuing their own hopes and dreams and picking their own suitor (based on his relationship with her that's all fairly evident), it's clear she herself would have been well-read and knowledgeable. He wouldn't have denied her an education based on her sex.

So the live-action film may establish that she's only read 12 books in the village, but what about all the books she would have read before coming to the village in the animated film? There were comics released in the 90s for Beauty and the Beast and one of the issues was about Belle remembering the first time she came to the village when she was a girl. The live-action film bungles this up by establishing that Belle was basically only an infant when her mother died and they moved from Paris to the village, but that backstory isn't the case in the animated film. And even in the live-action film, what's to say that Maurice, with all his inventions and as a respectable man, wouldn't have books of his own for Belle to read at their home? Maybe Belle goes to the library and re-reads only 12 books because she's exhausted her own home collection. There was a companion book when the live-action film came out about Belle's favorite quotes from various works. I can't remember which books or plays she read now but I'm pretty sure there were several Shakespearean works (besides the two you postulated she may have only read) which implies that even if the village library only had 12 books, she's surely read more than just those and thus they have to be owned by her because nobody else in the village is lending her any books.

I also want to say this about Romeo and Juliet since you said everybody dies which isn't really the case. This isn't Hamlet. You also said that the love of the two feuding families isn't enough to reconcile them but that isn't true at all either. The families do indeed reconcile at the end when they see their two young offspring both dead because of their inability to make peace. So at the end, it actually is their love that does bridge the feuding families even if their lives had to be sacrificed in the process. Romeo and Juliet may have died, but their love didn't die and they still have an afterlife where they will be forever united so it's a tragic story, but it's not 100% tragic. Not only do the families make peace but Romeo and Juliet's love proved eternal and far too pure for the earthly world full of strife and war, so they move on and find their own peace together in heaven in a perfect kingdom absent of unhappiness and hatred. There their love can bloom so their love isn't dead at all. Now what really would have been a tragic ending is if Juliet suddenly decided she doesn't want to stay with Romeo at the end after all as it's too much of a hassle to go against her parents' wishes. Or if Romeo decided that Juliet is dead so he's over her for good. None of that occurs because the two lovers prove that even death couldn't end their love so it's really not that tragic especially if you believe in an afterlife as the two lovers did.

So the Beast has even less of a reason to be so upset going by your view that Belle won't possibly love him because her favorite play ends with the two lovers dying which means that subconsciously she wants to condemn him to the same fate... because that isn't the case at all. It means Belle does believe in the power of love and that love can triumph over all, both life and death. In the Beast's case, his cursed life has been like a lifetime of its own and it takes the death of the Beast to rebirth the prince so if anything, he should be glad that there is a woman there who so strongly believes in love that she thinks it can surpass even death and even cheat death because while the lovers' bodies may lay cold in Romeo and Juliet, their love springs eternal and their souls are bonded for evermore. Belle so believes in love that if she grew to love the Beast, her love would be more lasting than his life and he really hates his current life doesn't he? He wants a new life, a life as the prince again and with Belle's love, he also realizes he needs to better himself and become a better prince, not the same exact prince he was before, vain and cruel with no regard for anyone else. That wicked and arrogant prince died to be transformed into the Beast and the Beast must die to be transformed into a better, kinder, more compassionate man.

Also you point out that Romeo and Juliet fall in love within 3-4 days or however long it was. If anything, that should endear the Beast to her more because she clearly believes you can fall in love that quickly and get married and at least try and have a happily ever after. Considering the Beast is running out of time himself, you would think he'd appreciate how economical Belle is and how she'll skip the fuss and courtship and run straight into marriage based on her views of love from her favorite play. He should be relieved he has a better chance of ending up with her before the last petal falls based on this than another play or book where two lovers spend a lifetime pining for each other before they finally end up together. After all, Romeo and Juliet are in love with each other and married before the final act's completion so even if the play ends with them dying, they still do end up wed way before their deaths. The Beast can't predict if he'll be killed shortly after transformation and he's probably not thinking of anything like that because the only thing on his mind is breaking the curse. Any other problems post-curse have no meaning or value until the curse is broken so going by Romeo and Juliet, Belle will be in love with Beast and married to him before the end of their story. Even if that end is untimely, he'll have become human before the end at least.

You also said that Belle would prefer Romeo and Juliet over A Midsummer Night's Dream because the former feels more rooted in reality with its tragic ending whereas the latter is too fantastical to feel real and possible for Belle. Yet, if that's the case, why does the animated Belle say that her favorite back is a fairy tale (essentially Sleeping Beauty)? And we know she loves Jack and the Beanstalk as well and from deleted scenes, enjoyed King Arthur too. Belle's Magical World has her reading Cinderella to the Beast so that's another impossible fairy tale she enjoys. These are all fantastical stories with happy endings that she loved so your view that she only likes Romeo and Juliet because that's the only ending that would speak to her loneliness and her bleak reality isn't very accurate.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:00 am 
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It’s silly of me, but I never really thought about Beast giving Belle the library in terms of the act showing a critical difference from Gaston and the village before. I guess I always focus on his difference being his learning not to be a monster, letting Belle go, changing his behavior, etc. I didn’t think about how he allows her power by encouraging her reading and growing knowledge versus the town thinking it’s wrong for her to read and that she should only care about getting married.

It’s refreshing to read a thought-provoking post about B&tB again (referring to the property in general, not the live-action re-make in particular). I by no means have read all of Shakespeare’s work, but of the 10 plays or so I have read AMND is my favorite. Macbeth is a close second, then Twelfth Night.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:59 am 
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I really liked your post, Escapay, it's always nice reading your thoughts and I appreciate that you put more thought into them than the filmmakers.

I do however disagree with some of your points. I feel like I might have agreed about this doesn't make the Beast a nag, but he had more instances throughout the film where he behaves like that, or being really classist, like with "A daughter of a thief" or when he says he doesn't like being around his servants. I also feel like his expression at that scene wasn't of hurt or misunderstanding, but one of contempt. I think there are better ways of portraying him telling her about the variety of stories out there, instead of schooling her as if she's an ignorant fool, which suggest a power imbalance to me and making Belle the one who needs to learn and change in order to be better for the Beast instead of the other way.

I also don't like the idea of the Beast giving the library to Belle as an act of empowering her, I don't think that women should be allowed empowerment only when a man allows it, and once again it's the power imbalance cause he can give her the library and he can take that away. I always felt in the original whether the Beast knew how to read or whether he loved reading was irrelevant, what was important was that he understood that Belle loves books and loves reading, which brings it back to Belle (Reprise): "And for once it might be grand to have someone understand" and here he is. He gives her the library because she loves it, not because she needs to read more books like he did, because it doesn't matter.

And yes giving her the library or even reading with her in Something There is in contrast to Gaston throwing her book into the mud, which was omitted from the remake IIRC. Also there's the scene where he feeds to bird, which is in contrast to Gaston shooting one in the first scene we see him, another scenes that were omitted in the remake, and now I remember that he basically gave her a oncussion and then instead of seeing if she needs help, he laughs at her.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:11 pm 
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farerb wrote:
I really liked your post, Escapay, it's always nice reading your thoughts and I appreciate that you put more thought into them than the filmmakers.

And yes giving her the library or even reading with her in Something There is in contrast to Gaston throwing her book into the mud, which was omitted from the remake IIRC. Also there's the scene where he feeds to bird, which is in contrast to Gaston shooting one in the first scene we see him, another scenes that were omitted in the remake, and now I remember that he basically gave her a oncussion and then instead of seeing if she needs help, he laughs at her.

I agree, I think Escapay put more thought in the film than anyone who actually worked on it ever did.

I remember the scene where Gaston throws Belle's book away was cut out but I didn't realize him shooting the bird was removed as well. No wonder I felt Gaston was so much more amiable in the live-action remake than in the animated film and I wasn't the only one to feel that way. Lol, I think most of us who have had enough of Emma Watson parading around as Hermione 2.0 in BATB were ecstatic when she got pegged by that snowball.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:04 pm 
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Wow, great post Escapay! Like others here, I say you put way more thought into your post than the screenwriters.

I agree that your post could hold true, but there's some things I wanna say.

Ok, I want to echo what JeanGreyForever said, Romeo and Juliet’s love DID bond the two feuding families and end their feud.

Princesses and queen had educations, too, so the Beast/prince would not be the only one empowering a woman by giving Belle a librbary. His mother probably could read and write.

The 1991 film still did the scene better with its simplicity.

If people, freshman or not, made Romeo and Juliet out to be the ultimate romance, then it can be so.

Finally, I think I realized something that...kinda...disproves your whole post, Escapay. In the 2017 film of discussion, a later scene has Belle remark that Beast is reading King Arthur, and that it is a romance. He says it's about knights and swords, but she says, "Still, it's a romance." I think this scene proves without a doubt that the reason the Beast "negs" Belle about "pining and heartache" which, if I'm correct, are STILL in A Midsummer Night's Dream, and then groans, his "negging" to Belle is that she's into romance, not unhappy endings.

JeanGreyForever, I don’t think Escapay was saying the Beast was forcing Belle to love him, and I don’t think it’s a given that Belle and her father were wealthy and educated before coming to the little town, but you know, that is a great idea! It’s just that I have never heard the official Disney filmmakers or books or articles on the animated film ever suggest this! And in the live-action film it seems to indicate Belle was taken from her old city, Paris, to Villeneuve, as an infant, so she was never wealthy and never really got educated before moving. I feel like in the animated film Belle and her father actually always lived in their town, too, but the comics released around the time of the film suggest otherwise, so you probably are right that she and her father moved there when she was a little girl. I loved your whole post, though!

Farerb, you are so right, it's best when girls empower themselves, and in the animated film the kindness and understanding of the Beast giving Belle the library was better than trying to empower her. It was more emotional, which is just one reason why the animated film is superior.

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