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Ciara Knisely

Beauty and the Beast Review

by Ciara Knisely | Jun 16, 2017

With one of my favorite Disney classics being remade and recently released, I thought I would review the new, live-action version of Beauty and the Beast from the eyes of a feminist college student.

As someone who works in a theatre and has seen the same, live musical version of the movie about twenty times, I had high expectations, especially with Emma Watson as Belle.

Overall, there were a few songs taken out and a few minor changes to the plot, but I think it stood by the original values of the movie while adding more values that we can appreciate in relation to current social conditions.

I loved Belle's role as an inventor in this movie. It added so much depth to her character, but also helped to envision her as a very inspirational role model for young girls. Her character is feminine, beautiful, kind, and caring, but also very clever, headstrong, and determined. I think that there has been such a rebellion recently against being too feminine or enjoying 'feminine' products such as makeup, dresses, jewelry, etc., and that those who wish to enjoy those things are inherently less of an advocate for women's equality. Belle never seems concerned about those things, but still embraces them, which I believed to show that she was comfortable in both her femininity and headstrong personality. I’m happy to see her show that being “girly” doesn’t make anyone, male or female, inferior.

Belle plays no damsel in distress. Throughout the whole movie, she takes action to accomplish her goals, whether it's taking her father's place in the Beast's prison, trying to escape the castle, or running to save her father from Gaston. She depends on no one, and her compassion towards others only makes her a stronger person.

As a result, Belle is an incredibly complex character. She demonstrates kindness and sympathy toward the Beast, who really deserves nothing from her, while still remaining true to her own values. I am incredibly happy to have this representation of Belle, but also even more happy with Emma Watson as an actress and simple human. She is a powerful feminist advocate and I hope that girls of any age can view her as a role model. I know that I do.

Ciara Knisely ’18 is an English-Creative Writing major and Journalism minor, and hopes to continue her writing career in the future. She spends her time working at the Writing Center on campus and is a Co-Editor of the Oak Leaves newspaper.

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