I don’t know if it’s because of all the craziness going on in the world
but I got teary-eyed within the first five minutes of the new Beauty and the Beast movie. I totally was not expecting that. I had pretty low expectations going into the theater, but I was immediately drawn in. The opening musical motif as we zoom in on the castle was all it took. I was in.
And then it just got better.
The movie was well-acted,
and different enough from the original that I didn’t get bored. Some parts––like Gaston’s song––were decidedly more enjoyable for me in this version than the original. I laughed out loud, sighed in satisfaction, and, yes, even teared up. While there was a little too much auto-tune for my taste and a couple parts felt long, overall, I loved it.
Even more than the great music, dancing, and acting, I was struck by the story itself.
The opening segment of the haughty prince being humbled hit a much deeper chord in me as an adult than it did as a kid. The themes of inner beauty and learning to see the world through new eyes felt profoundly relevant to our times. Just the plight of the beast itself, his increasing loneliness and hopelessness as years pass without seeing any change, hit me deep.
But the part that made me tear up was Belle. (Perhaps partly because I can relate to her a bit..)
I had forgotten what an oddball Belle is. She is introduced as a peculiar girl who doesn’t fit in her village. She is beautiful, but her head is always stuck in a book, and she is oblivious to her surroundings. She’s a dreamer who desires more than her small-town life, but doesn’t know what more there could be. She is innocent and clueless.
And she is our heroine.
She is the one who enters the dark, hopelessness of the cursed castle and makes it new. Not because she is super strong, clever, witty, or knowledgeable. Because she understands love.
She is just a simple girl, but she has genuine love in her heart. In fact, she’s fearless when it comes to love. And that’s what qualifies her to save the day.
She is the girl who rushes headlong into the dangerous woods to find her father. She’s the girl willing to take his place in captivity without hesitation. Belle is able to see past outer appearances and forgive initial offenses to see the good inside someone–someone everyone else fears.
And that ability changes everything.
Sometimes it’s easy to overlook the value of love.
So many other qualities are exalted in society. Intelligence, strength, skill. We value control over compassion. We choose to build up our image instead of real relationships, which require patience and selflessness. It is easy to value my own intellect and productive ability above my capacity for tenderness and compassion.
But while lifehacks are great, knowledge is awesome, creating valuable products is important, and even wit is certainly valuable, nothing compares to the power of love.
I, for one, never want to forget that.
Have you seen the new movie? What did you think? I always love hearing your thoughts––feel free to comment below!