Belle (Emma Watson) lives in a small village with her father Maurice (Kevin Kline), an inventor. Her life wouldn’t be so bad if the local library had more books and if village beau Gaston (Luke Evans) wasn’t constantly harrassing her with marriage proposals. Then one day, Maurice doesn’t return from the market as planned. When Belle sets out to find him, what she finds is an enchanted castle, where a Beast (Dan Stevens) is holding her father captive. Fearless as she is, Belle takes Maurice place. And she might just be what the Beast needed to break the curse that weighs on them all.
This live-action version of the film isn’t strictly necessary and there were a couple of things that really didn’t go all that well, but the film was nevertheless enjoyable and managed to capture the magic of the animated version at least in part.
After his ships sink, a rich merchant (André Dussolier) is left destitute. He has to move to a small cottage in the countryside, much to the chagrin of all his children, except Belle (Léa Seydoux), who loves life on the country. One day, after trying to get their money back in the city, the merchant becomes lost in the woods. He happens upon a castle where nobody seems to be, but a rich feast is there for him to take. But when he also tries to take a rose for Belle, a beast (Vincent Cassel) appears and demands that the merchant be his prisoner for the theft. The merchant agrees but asks to see his children one last time, a wish the beast grants. But when Belle hears about the sacrifice, she offers herself in her father’s stead, setting a whole string of events in motion.
Beauty and the Beast is a problematic story (hello, consent issues and Stockholm syndrome!), but I honestly thought that I had seen the worst possible version of it in Beastly. Well, La belle et la bête fights extremely hard for that spot.