I have been waiting for a remake of Beauty and the Beast for ages! I wanted to see what visual magic could be done to this classic and iconic fairytale given how far we have come with cinematography. It’s simply unbelievable.
If don’t know the story of Beauty and the Beast ( I mean who doesn’t!?!). I won’t spoil it for you but I will give you a quick synopsis just so you get where I am going with this piece. Beauty and the Beast is a story originally published in 1740. The original written version of this tale, which researchers believe originated 4,000 years ago, was written by French novelist Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve in the early 18th century. If you are familiar with this tale you will notice that there are quite a few variations. Her original piece was reinterpreted later by Andrew Lang in 1889 in his Fairy Book Series and it’s the condensed version that we now know.
This tale is about a sweet kindhearted beauty named Belle who lives in a little quaint French town with her merchant father and siblings. As a result of a series of events (I don’t want to spoil it for you!) and a promise made by her father, she is forced to move into an enchanted castle with the Beast. The Beast must make her love him and she must learn to love him and see what’s hidden deep within his beastly exterior. Love is the key to breaking the spell.
There are many lessons in a fairytale. There are certainly mainly lessons in this tale. One that stuck out for me and I hadn’t given it much though until now is the angst that is felt as the viewer waiting for her to love the Beast. As you watch the story unfold, as witnesses to Belle and the Beast’s love story you see the prince within him long before she does. You see what you want her to see and you are disappointed when he lets his insecurities get the best of him. You want her to be patient, you want her to be kind. You want her to see that the prince is hidden within, she just needs to open her heart. You want her to see that what she desires, the man/prince of her dreams is right in front of her. Further, you want him to let his guard down and let us see his true spirit and nature. We want him to move beyond his brute rough exterior and stop using it as a way to keep distance between them. We want him to love himself so he can let her love him. We want to believe that complicated can lead to something really beautiful and in the end all the hard work will lead to love. The work needed to achieve this takes place at the personal level and then together. We watch it, we want it and we love it.
WHY WE LOVE THE BEAST
He Gives Us Hope…
It’s true. It doesn’t matter what your gender is. There’s nothing better than watching someone transform into the person you know they can be, that they know that they can be, right before your eyes. It lets you see that change is possible. That we aren’t static beings and we aren’t stuck…YOU ARE NOT. That we can just really turn it all around with a bit of work. That it’s possible to see the person you love in someone before they can see themselves the way you see them. It was hard back then, 4,000 years ago when it’s said this tale was first told or in the early 18th century when Barbot de Villeneuve put it on paper, to find that unconditional love we all seek. Time has never changed this; we are beings born out of the essence of love and it’s where we will always want to return. Whether on a subconscious or conscious level, we will seek this in our lives. We find ways to attract love through our pursuits so we are visible to the other. We want to be as brilliant and bright as possible so people can see that we are worth loving. Everyone deserves love, everyone is worth loving. A little utopic, I know but it’s an innate desire that no one will escape. We are like a lonely empty castle walking through life until we fill it with love, until we are love. So we love the Beast. We want to love him, we want him to love himself and we want her to love him.
We See Ourselves In Him…
We all in some way are the Beast. Whether you see yourself as attractive or not, we all feel at some level that we aren’t enough. We can blame images we see in popular publications or movies or what we’ve been told to view as the “beauty standard” or simply what we have constructed in our minds. Just like the Beast, we all want someone to love us for who we really are. To help us see beyond the exterior, our flaws and unlock the beauty within so that’s all they will ever see and all we will ever see when we look at ourselves. We want to be loved. We desire this more than anything. We want to know that people won’t give up on us. We don’t want to give up on us. What captivates us most about this tale between beast and beauty is that it isn’t easy. They had to build a foundation before they could reach love. They had to come as they are flaws, fears, insecurities, judgments, all of it before they could experience their happy beginning. It also demonstrated the power of friendship. They couldn’t skip this step since this wasn’t a lust at first sight type of encounter. It was an encounter that occurred due to a series of fated events that brought them together. Like the Beast, Belle had to work on breaking down her own walls. Although she is beautiful, you will see that she is fearful, slightly judgemental. All she knows is her beauty, that’s all she has ever been told. You will see that she will have to be more than this in order to build a relationship with the Beast. She will have to unlock other parts of herself that move beyond the surface. It doesn’t matter how perfect or beautiful we may think she is compared to him. When you delve deeper, you will realize that we have more commonalities than we think.
Because we are all complicated…
I am sure you know this. I am sure you have come to understand this with regard to yourself. I am sure you have also come to this conclusion as a result of the different relationships you have experienced thus far. This also includes friendships. We are all a rubric cube just trying to put ourselves back together. There’s isn’t one way to do it and for some, it can take an entire lifetime. It’s the people we encounter that reveal this to us. It’s through relationships, these interactions where we come face to face with ourselves.
What ultimately brings them together, Belle and the Beast is their shared fears and insecurities. Their preconceived notions of each other are a reflection of how they feel about themselves. Beautiful Belle as kindhearted as she is has to get past what she sees to get in touch with what she feels. The angry Beast must get past what he thinks to allow himself to let his guard down so he can get in touch with his heart. The mind cannot win the heart. I think you know this. I am sure you know that our minds can create a lot of chaos. Our minds are good at solving problems and we can use our thoughts to manipulate our feelings. But when we are living our truth, we know that it’s that feeling in our gut, that feeling that always lingers, regardless of how powerful our mind is that will continue to speak to us incessantly until we listen.
We complicate things when we do not live our truth. We complicate love when we think it is simply something we can manipulate or plan. We complicate our lives because we are fearful. Our fear is our own creation. What makes us so messed up is that we know this, yet we hide behind it. It’s when we are confronted by that certain someone, we are forced to come face to face with this way of being. A way of being that is preventing us from being our best true selves. A way of being that is preventing us from experiencing self-love and in turn giving and experiencing love. Yes, it’s complicated. We make it that way. So we can change it just like Belle and the Beast.
Love is Patient…
Love, it’s not always kind or daisies or bursting rainbows (please don’t group this in with abusive and unhealthy attachments – not what I am saying). For everyone it is different. A sweet beginning in love leads to a mid-point reality of love and coupledom where that blissful feeling settles into a ‘what I am doing?’ ‘who are you really?‘ feeling that requires patience. Or a rough and awkward, confusing yet unexplainable connected beginning leads to a sweet blissful mid-point love that grows into long term happy coupledom. Both scenarios require patience. It’s true building the foundation of love requires patience. No one is perfect therefore we can’t expect this process to be ‘perfect’, whatever perfect means anyway.
We must first, be patient with ourselves. We are our biggest haters and our worst opponent. It should be easy loving you, but there are so many factors both internal and external that challenge this essential need. We need to love ourselves and we must desire this above anything else.
When we decide to open our hearts to love another, we must proceed with patience. So we don’t allow, the time that is needed for it to grow, the fear we may feel or insecurities we may have to get the best of what could be.
I know you are thinking well life is not a fairytale. I ask you this….Why not?
Cover Image Courtesy.