When a younger counterpart to the Beast insults an enchantress for her appearance, she curses him to be a Beast forever unless he falls in love, and it is reciprocated. Disney’s portrayal wants to suggest how the Beast and Belle can fall in love even with how different they are. Except, the story as a whole does not work, no matter how many catchy songs the film adds. Belle’s decision to stay in the Beast’s castle in exchange for her father’s life makes Belle a prisoner in the Beast’s castle. She is not allowed to leave and thus must make the best of her new life. All the while, the movie encourages Belle and the Beast to fall in love.
The Beast Isn’t The One Doing The Work
Beauty and the Beast partially relies on the premise that the Beast has been punished for insulting a woman based on her appearance. When he does not find her attractive and treats her wrongly because of it, the enchantress curses him to be a Beast. But, when it comes to the love story between Belle and the Beast, the Beast is not the one working toward seeing beyond the surface. The title alone tells the audience exactly what to expect. Belle is meant to be objectively beautiful. So, when Belle falls in love with the Beast, the movie presents her as doing the work to see beyond his appearance.
The Beast, however, has no work to do at any point. This is not a self-love story about the Beast accepting himself and loving his appearance. Nor does the Beast find himself falling in love with a woman he would not consider attractive. Belle is presented and considered a beautiful young woman. Therefore, the Beast is not looking beyond the surface of her physical appearance to fall in love with her personality. Instead, the Beast, cursed for judging someone’s physical appearance, spends the film falling in love with an objectively beautiful young woman, while Belle does the work to prove that someone can fall in love with another no matter what they look like.
Is It Stockholm Syndrome?
Is Belle genuinely falling in love with the Beast, or is she experiencing Stockholm Syndrome? As Belle develops positive emotions toward the Beast, the man who has been keeping her prisoner, the question could also be suggested that Belle’s changing reaction to the Beast is a coping mechanism to deal with such a traumatic situation. But, one of the biggest problems is how it romanticizes the idea.
Belle and the Beast eventually start bonding, and when they do, it could create the wrong idea in someone’s head that this dynamic could come about in a dangerous situation. Beauty and the Beast wants to portray how the duo learns to love each other in the isolated location of the Beast’s castle. But, given how Belle is not allowed to leave whenever she desires, it strips romance out of it. Belle has no control over her life or destiny while she lives in the Beast’s castle
Belle Loses Out On Adventure
In the beginning, Belle makes it clear she wishes for more than what life in the village has to offer. She loses herself in books that allow her to go on journeys and adventures she has never had. Belle sees a future for herself to live as she wishes on grand adventures rather than staying in the village with men like Gaston. However, once Belle exchanges herself for her father, that desire is no longer a forefront dream. Although Belle initially shows she does not want to stay in the castle forever, Belle seems to accept her fate when the Beast asks her if she is happy living with him. Belle’s only wish was to see her father again.
However, in the conclusion, Belle marries the Beast after his return to human form, potentially remaining in the castle on the outskirts of the town Belle so desperately wanted to leave. Her wish for adventure seems to disappear, sadly suggesting it is unknown if she gets to explore the world after her marriage.