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“beauty and the beast” movie review

Beauty and the Beast

Although I’m going to write 399 more, there’s really only one word you need to know about Beauty and the Beast, and that’s “magical.”

Watching the new live action version of the Disney animated classic in IMAX was one of the most enjoyable and deeply satisfying theater experiences I’ve had in a long time. There were so many times I wanted to burst into applause. Or tears. Or simply with joy.

The movie is just magical.

From the minute that sleepy little French  town wakes up – “Bonjour! Bonjour! Bonjour! Bonjour! Bonjour!” – everything feels familiar yet fresh. And when Belle appears “with a dreamy, far-off look and her nose stuck in a book,” you know Emma Watson was born to take this role.

The perfect Belle, Watson brings the beloved Disney princess into the 21st century with the same feminist perspective that made her a role model for girls everywhere as Harry Potter’s Hermione. She is strong and fearless, compassionate and smart.

Every performance is totally on the money, and the musical numbers are a delight. “Be Our Guest” is pretty much perfection.

I don’t need to tell you the story of Beauty and the Beast so let me share some of the moments and messages that really stood out to me and that continue to make this “tale as old as time” so relevant today.

Beauty and the Beast

Belle is the favorite princess of every book nerd I know. We all viscerally share her reaction when she first sees the Beast’s amazing library. In fact, I could so relate to this, I wrote a piece for USA Today, “Belle Would Be Enchanted by These 10 Lovely Libraries in Hotels.”

Belle’s love of reading is a vital part of Beauty and the Beast and shows the importance of keeping books – real, physical books – available to everyone.

“Your library makes our little corner of the world feel big,” Belle tells the keeper of the books. We understand that her thirst for knowledge is what makes her different. It’s also what makes her able to see beneath the surface and not be deceived by appearances.

Beauty and the Beast

“Small village, small minded,” sighs Belle’s father, played lovingly by Kevin Kline. And, in our minds, we’re suddenly transported to present day, recognizing the narcissistic Gaston and his ability to feed into the town’s fear and whip them into a frenzy to “Build That Wall!” “Kill the Beast!” for his own selfish purposes.

Beauty and the Beast gives us hope for our own happy ending.

In the meantime, I’m going to see the movie again to escape into this beautiful, vibrant, musical world where the cutlery sings, love is found in the most unexpected places and the real beasts ultimately get what they deserve.


  1. I am so excited! Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite animated movies. And Emma Watson!!! I can’t wait!

  2. Rebecca Bryant says:

    I can’t think anyone else who could have played Belle so brilliantly. I also agree with your statement about us book nerds. Belle was, is and always will be our princess of choice.

  3. Can young children see this movie?

    • Lois Alter Mark says:

      I think it depends on the child. If you remember the scenes with the wolves – I think they’re even scarier in this “real” version – and also the whole “Kill the Beast” thing. You can always go out for snacks at those times!

  4. LOL- I love your “Build That Wall!” reference! I can’t wait to take my boys to see this film!

  5. Can’t wait to see the movie. Love Emma Watson and so enjoyed the animated version.

  6. I can’t wait to see the movie! It looks fantastic!

  7. This is a great review! I have plans to see it with a group of friends, taking along our daughters for a fun girls night!

  8. Awesome details for such a fascinating movie that seems to have everyone raving. I think I am most interested in seeing Emma Watson’s portrayal of Belle. That will be interesting to watch!

  9. I am so excited! Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite animated movies. And Emma Watson is amazing!!! I can’t wait! to watch it!!

  10. Sometimes, you need a little magic. We all do. Thank you for reminding us how easy it is to find it. I’ll be seeing this one!

  11. OMG, I’m so excited now. I just read you review to my husband and he’s in too! Can’t wait to see it. Thanks for putting a thrill back in the day! Love you, Lois!

  12. I adored this movie. We have tickets to see it again this weekend. Can’t wait!

  13. Ashley Mullins says:

    I’m so excited for this movie! I can’t wait to see it and you just made me want to see it event more!

  14. Helene Cohen Bludman says:

    I can not wait to see this movie. I loved the original so much and I’ve heard great things about the new one.

  15. Escapism works for me these days. If only we could rid ourselves of our own marauding bully in Washington but for now I must content myself with watching Belle and her Beast prevail against fear and bigotry. Yay! Thanks for the fun review, Lois.

  16. I want to see it. I cannot believe that Emma would play a weak woman, looking forward to Belle’s strength of character!!!!

  17. I am so excited about this movie! I’ve watched the trailer like a gazillion times! From your review I can tell that I will absolutely love it! Hoping to get to the theater to see it with my family very soon!

  18. We are taking our grandkids to see it at the IMAX theatre on Sunday. We’ve already prepared the younger ones for the wolves but will probably go for snacks just to be safe.

  19. This is soooo on my list to go see! I am also glad that you pointed out Belle’s strong feminist qualities. Yes, you can be strong, powerful, and smart and still be a princess. The world seems to forget that some days….

  20. We have a screening of it at Disney next week. Can’t wait.

  21. Can’t wait to see it. So many memories of watching the animated version a million times with my girls in their “Belle Dresses” that my mom made. Looks like a gorgeous movie!

  22. Even if I have to go alone I want to see this movie. It’s a timeless classic and YES about the library! I can’t wait to see it.

    P.S. I am partial to Angela Lansbury’s rendition of “Tale as old as time….” Makes me tear up every time. Off ya go now, Chip….xo

  23. Now I am intrigued to see this movie.
    My daughter has been thinking about taking her children (my grandchildren) to see this movie. Their ages are 8, 6, and 3. What is your opinion? Okay for the 8 and 6 year old?

  24. Nancy Chapel says:

    Saw B & B, Sunday 9:30 PM @ Cinepolis, day after son John’s wedding so we were all exhausted, but I loved it! Not easy to pull off since the animated movie is so great too, and I am partial to Angela Lansbury’s voice as Mrs. Potts, but absolutely loved Emma Watson as Belle, the music, libraries, was very scared by those wolves…we enjoyed!!

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