‘La Belle et La Bete’ (2014)

Saw this movie ages ago but never posted a review!

There’s not much to say, other than this: the movie is the exact opposite of what the fairytale is about. All style and no substance.

The visuals are utterly spectacular. The costumes – oh my gosh, if I could get my hands on just one dress! The actors – hmm, Vincent Cassel not so much, but Lea Seydoux is mesmerising to look at (if a little too sensual for her role).

Other than that, I felt nothing. Which is saying a lot, because this is my 3rd favourite fairytale of all time and normally adaptations of it evoke some sort of response.

The movie is a lot closer to Villeneuve’s literary tale, including backstory and dreams. But the real heart of the tale – the love story between Beauty and the Beast – falls flat. It’s distractingly weak, overpowered by superfluous characters (fortune-teller woman who looks like Maggie Q) and action sequences (giant stone men). The romance was sparsely developed. Why did Belle fall in love with the Beast? It seems she fell in love with him at the same time as she discovered his backstory, which just isn’t convincing.

The most powerful moment of the film for me was ***SPOILERS*** the deer-hunting sequence. That shot, of the golden hart dying in the Prince’s arms, was epic yet personal, sweeping yet tender.

Which is exactly what the rest of the story should have been. Again, unfortunately the backstory completely drowns out the Prince’s present story with Belle. Their romance moves inevitably towards its conclusion with nothing driving it.

By all means watch it for the eye candy (THOSE DRESSES, THAT SCENERY AND THOSE CGI PUPPIES). But if you’re after a true ‘Beauty and the Beast’ tale with real depth, watch Jean Cocteau’s ‘La Belle et La Bete’ or Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ instead.

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