Beauty and the Beast review round-up: Emma Watson 'is an ideal Belle' but the movie is not 'kid-friendly'

Asmita Kundu
Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast

Genre: Fantasy, Drama

Cast: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans

Director: Bill Condon

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Disney's Beauty and the Beast is definitely a fresh take on the 1991 animated classic Beauty and the Beast. Directed by Academy Award winner Bill Condon, this film is a live-action drama, in which Emma Watson plays the role of Belle and Dan Stevens portrays the Beast.

Also read: Beauty and the Beast: Russia mulls ban on Disney film over "exclusively gay moment"

The film tells a classic love story where the Beast lives on the edge of the town. Eventually, one day he captures Belle's father. And when Belle comes looking for her father, she finally meets the Beast. In exchange of her father's freedom, Belle agrees to stay with him. Soon after, the two begin to fall for each other and the story takes a turn and unveils some twists.

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Beauty and the Beast reportedly features a gay character named LeFou (Josh Gad) who shares an intimate moment with Gaston (Luke Evans), as a subplot of the film. And this is said to be the first ever homosexual scene in the history of Disney films. Some countries like Russia have even considered banning the film over the gay scene, an issue that created quite an outrage on social media. However, Russia set the age limit for the viewers to 16 and above instead of banning the film.

On the release of the film, here's what critics have said:

Hindustan Times

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"You saw the doe-eyed Belle drawn by an artist on screen all those years ago, but it still escapes me how Emma could be just as perfect for it. She has Belle's stern, confident charm, but is the sweetest petal of rose when you need her to be."

FIRSTPOST

"After the live action versions of Cinderella, The Jungle Book and now with this film Disney has figured out a way to both pander to the nostalgic audiences and reel in newcomers and let them discover why these films became classics in the first place."

The Guardian

"Emma Watson is a demure, doll-like Belle, almost a figure who has stepped off the top of a music box; she never gives in to extravagant emotion, or retreats into depression, but maintains a kind of even-tempered dignified romantic solitude. She doesn't set the screen ablaze, but that isn't quite the point: she is well cast and it is a good performance from her.

"...his character is no different from the cringing sidekick in the 1991 version; whether Le Fou is the only or the most gay thing about the film is up for discussion, and it is the celebratory and witty connoisseurship of musical theatre in the gay community that has historically kept this genre vital."

Variety

"When you watch the new "Beauty and the Beast," you're in a prosaic universe of dark and stormy sets, one that looks a lot like other (stagy) films you've seen. The visual design, especially in the Beast's majestic curlicued castle, is gentrified Gothic — Tim Burton de-quirked."

"He's played by Dan Stevens, a British actor who out of makeup looks like a bland version of Ryan Gosling, but the makeup and effects artists have done an extraordinary job of transforming him into a hairy hulking figure with ram horns, the face of a saddened lion having an existential meltdown, and the voice of Darth Vader channelling Hugh Grant."

"... the new "Beauty and the Beast" is not as kid-friendly a movie."

The Hollywood Reporter

"Indeed, all credit should be due to Disney for canny planning on a meta level, one of the trademarks of its success over the years. This remake of the company's 1991 animated hit tracks closely to the earlier version's plot and story beats, includes revamps of all the old songs and arrives just in time to exploit generational nostalgia — to lure viewers who loved the last version as kids and are just becoming parents themselves."

"At least that latter element is immaculate, overseen by designer Sarah Greenwood, working once again with costume designer Jacqueline Durran. This dream team has collaborated many times before on films for Joe Wright such as Pride & Prejudice, Anna Karenina, and Atonement, and between them, they have a particular knack for finding a balance between historicism and contemporary style."

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