“Beauty and the Beast” was directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise and was released in 1991. It is a Disney classic that explores the idea that true love and kindness can turn the ugliest soul, even a beast, into someone beautiful. Although it is considered a children’s movie, Disney explored this idea throughout using darker and more mature themes, which children would not understand. These themes attracted an older audience, and now almost 26 years later, a live-action version of the story is in the works.
“Beauty and the Beast” is about a young woman, Belle, whose father is taken prisoner by a beast. The beast used to be a selfish unkind human, Prince Adam. One day an enchantress put a spell on him. The beast has to love someone and have her love him in return in order to break the spell. But he only has until his 21st birthday. Belle takes her father’s place as prisoner in the mansion, and while Belle serves as a maid, the beast falls in love with her gentle and kind nature. Ultimately, that love prevails over the curse.
The most captivating part of the plot of “Beauty and the Beast” is the way “Stockholm syndrome” is presented in a children’s film. “Stockholm Syndrome” is when the victim falls in love with the captor. To a child, the situation just seems like a naïve girl identifies the good in the beast, but in reality, the fact that Belle is falling in love with someone who made her his servant and held her captive is a little twisted. This is the main aspect of the plot that attracts an adult audience. Belle is serving in complete isolation. Her only friends are dishes and a clock who repeatedly tells her to “be their guest.” In the midst of all this, Belle falls in love with the beast even though he held her prisoner in his castle and forced her to be his maid. Somehow, the writers cause you want this innocent girl to fall in love with this undeserving beast.
Another key part of the plot is that true love heals all; even curses. Belle came back for the beast she fell in love with. As he lays dying in her arms she confesses her love and breaks the curse, initiating the beast’s transforming back into Prince Adam. Adults can also empathize with this because most of them have experienced this euphoric feeling of love.
A vital part of the plot is Belle’s role as a savior in the beast’s life. The first evidence of this is when Belle sacrifices herself and takes her father’s place in prison, even though she is innocent. She serves her new master and shows patience to the beast consistently, while continuing to pursue him every time he pushes her away. This part of the plot draws in a more mature audience because we are all searching for something to make us better and we all have the desire to be pursued. Because of Belle’s unconditional love, the beast’s heart is softened and he becomes a new person.
“Beauty and the Beast” has long been considered a children’s movie, however there are several mature themes and keys to the plot that make the story appealing to adults as well. These themes and keys are what inspired directors to remake this Disney classic into a live-action film. The new version is set to be released to theaters March 17, 2017.