The Disney live-action adaptation of Beauty And The Beast (2017) is coming to theaters this week. The fairy tale is classic in its own right. It follows a young maiden named Belle who sets out to find her father in a secluded castle where a painfully aloof and irascible Beast resides. This being a Disney adaptation, Belle, of course, is immediately drawn to the Beast’s unusual wits and sympathy.

The internet has since diminished the story to one linked to bestiality and Stockholm Syndrome, but Beauty And The Beast is definitely more than that. Some surmise that the story of finding love by being one’s self. Again, the fairy tale is more than that.

In a greatly satiric fashion, the film trashes society for celebrating bullies

Gaston’s character is an exceedingly horrendous character. This is deliberate. A vainglorious, conceited egotist, he earns the clamor of the townsfolk, cheering him on to pursue his all but self-serving ways. Even if he catcalls on the daily, he gets a free pass because he’s supposed to be “good-looking” and masculine as fuck. These are all easy to ingest, almost very primal: you celebrate power and strength, but the crime of misusing should never be disregarded, something that, for some reason, the townsfolk in the film too easily ignore.

In it, society rejects what it doesn’t understand

That’s because in the film, the townsfolk fails to understand curiosity. In a town that’s ruled by a man whose persona is as black-and-white as that of Gaston, there’s barely any room for Belle, a bookish young lady, who’s positively smarter and better than Gaston can only hope he could be.

And also, those who are unusually smart and sympathetic

Gaston’s brain is filled with air and thoughts of him about himself. Naturally, when an outstanding woman rejects him, he’s abashed and threatened. And because he has the town under his wrists, Gaston manages to persuade them that Belle and his father—people with unusual wit, curiosity, and passion so as to look past Beast’s looks—must be vanquished.

Contrary to what shallow minds presume, Belle did not get Stockholm syndrome

There is a popular theory about Beauty And The Beast I wish everyone just straight-up rejected. It says that falling in love with a beast is problematic, even by Disney’s standards. And that symptoms of Stockholm syndrome manifest in Belle’s case. This is, the theory states, the only plausible way for Belle to have developed feelings for the Beast. Of course, the theory itself is problematic, seeing that the story is completely parabolic and fantastical. I wonder if the author of the theory even knows metaphors exist because the way I see it, and apparently a lot of other people too, is that Belle fell for the Beast for his selflessness, smarts, and, let’s admit it, suave.

Emma Watson is right: Belle is a most feminist character

To wrap this list up, I’d like to back my girl Emma Watson up. “I think Belle’s one of those characters who really turns the feminist, man-hating thing on its head,” she tells Daily Mail in an interview. I mean, she’s right. Belle is smart, independent, and kind. She obviously does not allow anyone to pin her down, not even the Beast (case in point: the awkward-est dinner scene in Disney history). But that doesn’t make her an arrogant, entitled woman who goes berserk for no reason. She puts down Gaston in a most effective manner, too, by showing him she’s got standards and his self-loving vain self is lightyears away from it.

BONUS: Beauty And The Beast’s official final trailer. The live-action adaptation of the classic tale opens in Philippine theaters, March 16.


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