This month, Disney re-released one of my favorite films in theatres, Beauty and the Beast. Although I did not see the 3-D release, I did curl up on the couch this afternoon and glued my eyes to the DVD version. And all the wonderful emotions I felt 20 years ago as a teen-ager rushed back. Awe, sadness, and joy. It pleases me to hear that this masterpiece of a film is the number one movie right now, and that a new generation will fall in love with Belle and the Beast.
There are many reasons why Beauty strikes chords in my heart. During the Christmas holiday of 1991, I took some family members to see it, which sparked a holiday tradition of going to the movies. The music flowed well with the film, and the Beast’s castle was quite the cinematic achievement in animation.
But mostly, Beauty and the Beast brought the Disney Princess back with a force. Belle was a brainy woman, who loved to read, who respected her father, and did not skip out on her chores. Her gentle nature made a seven-foot tall, hairy beast calm his anger, and made him nervous when they danced. But most importantly to me as a brownie, Belle was a brunette with topaz eyes. She did not have flowing, perfect hair, but mahogany locks that sometimes strayed into her face. She seemed almost homely throughout the film until donning her spectacular yellow gown. Belle’s dreams and her prince were not granted by a fairy godmother or a wish. Love did not burst forth at first sight. Instead, this movie proved that sometimes love requires much work and immense sacrifice, and sometimes must be fought for.