Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast

au_rich_large_beautyandthebeast_payoff_4bfd4fa0My family and I are on vacation this week and decided to take in a movie. Disney’s new live-action Beauty and the Beast was the consensus flick of choice, and after reading several reviews online including Plugged In and Common Sense Media due to the significant controversy surrounding the film, we decided to ignore the extreme caution of the conservative, Evangelical right and venture to the local theater excited to take in this reimagining of a favorite family classic.

This live-action version of the film is significantly longer than the original animated version.  There are several new songs added in to the already beloved tunes from 1991.  The sets and costuming were exquisite, and the special effects were on point as well.  Though the storyline contains a few small differences from its previous counterpart, mostly to embellish some of the dramatic elements and enhance the plot development, it remains true to the original and ultimately culminates with a closely similar ending.   But enough about that…

What I was most curious about was the handling of the much-debated “exclusively gay moment” alluded to by director Bill Condon prior to the film’s release.  In case you’ve been living under a rock the past few weeks, this “moment” involves Gaston’s hopelessly devoted sidekick, LeFou, played by Josh Gad of Disney’s Frozen fame (Olaf).  Granted, Gad’s  portrayal of LeFou displays some stereotypical, albeit subtle, homosexual tendencies, but in my opinion one has to read between the lines and want that to be a significant part of the storyline when, in fact, it really isn’t.  Furthermore, the aforementioned “moment” occurs very near the film’s end in a don’t-blink-or-you’ll-miss-it fashion.  Quite honestly, had there never been a big issue made of the situation before the movie’s release, I probably wouldn’t have noticed it or even been looking for it in the first place.  I guess what they say is true: there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

And in light of the many “Christians” that have weighed in and proclaimed a boycott against the film–and even Disney itself–a few ideas come to mind:

  • Disney isn’t a “Christian” company, nor have they ever claimed to be.  So why would we expect them to hold to Biblical values within the entertainment in which they produce?  As Pastor Robert Morris often says, “Golfers golf. Hunters hunt. Sinners sin. It’s what they do.”
  • While many scoff at the idea of an “exclusively gay moment” in a “family film”, I don’t hear many scoffing at the womanizing and self-absorbed persona of Gaston, nor the countless women throwing themselves at him as the story progresses.
  • We’ll even turn a deaf ear to various innuendo and “bathroom humor” contained within countless other films marketed toward children and families in addition to BATB.
  • Few seem to be focusing on the overwhelmingly positive message of the film that beauty is more than skin-deep and that it’s what’s on the inside that counts.  You know, the whole “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” concept.
  • The film also perpetuates the idea that we should show love and acceptance to those different from us, which was a value held by Jesus himself.

Consider these words from 1 John 4:7-8:

“Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”

And also Jesus’ words to His disciples from John 13:35:

“All people will know that you are my followers if you love each other.”

Don’t get me wrong–I don’t like that an “exclusively gay moment”, though subtle and fleeting, was included in the film, nor do I enjoy the homosexual ideals that seem to be present in quite a bit of modern entertainment.  And it would be easy for me to react by boycotting the film–and even Disney itself (until I remember that Disney owns ESPN).

But then I remember that I have been called to be in the world and not of it.  I can’t choose someone’s eternity–heaven or hell–for them; that’s a choice they must make for themselves.  I can’t in my own power make anyone right with Jesus.  The only thing that I can do in situations like this is to love.  Loving doesn’t condone a lifestyle, neither does it compromise one’s values and beliefs.  It simply treats others with respect, despite their differences.

After all, I won’t be known as a follower of Christ based on my judgment of others.  I won’t be recognized as a child of God for showing hatred.  So I will choose to use this as an opportunity to teach my children, and anyone else who will listen, that love is the answer, and here’s why:

“God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son so that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but have eternal life. God did not send his Son into the world to judge the world guilty, but to save the world through him.”               ~John 3:16-17

For those of you that have seen the movie, I’d love to hear your thoughts.  For those of you steering clear, what are the reasons for you making that decision?  Feel free to leave a comment below and join the conversation.

6 thoughts on “Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast

    1. Yes, there are so many subtle things like that thrown into kids/family movies. We can’t strain the gnats and swallow the camels in the process. I really enjoyed the movie, though I still prefer the original by far.

      Like

  1. Well said! Kelsey and I saw it over the weekend with my mother and sister. I took no issues with the film, and honestly think that the whole moment was blown out of proportion in order to gain publicity for the film (“No such thing as bad publicity.”)

    For that matter, other scenes from the movie can have issues if someone looks at them long enough.

    For example, the scene that bothered me the most in the film wasn’t the “gay” scene, but the subtle reference to the French Revolution, and the beheadings. in the song “Be Our Guest,” when Lumiere says “After all, this is France,” the screen dropped to a red hue, the beat dropped out of the song, and at the moment the bass kicks in the beat of the music, the knife blade came down across the loaf of bread that was angled at the edge of a cutting board so that the cut portion would fall onto the table itself. That subtle reference is really only noticed to people that know French Revolutionary History, but was fairly intentional, as the beat drop was obvious enough that a point was trying to be made in the song itself.

    However, kids aren’t going to know the dark undertones that this second and a half scene had on the screen, nor are they going to know that the odd/funny man that helps save Mrs. Potts in the end is gay unless their parents make a big deal of it.

    As a whole, the film was good. It’s not my place to cast judgement, as I cannot be one that can judge fairly, as all of humankind has a bias one way or the other. I can only strive to follow the words of Christ in all things: Mark 12:30-31 (HCSB) “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.The second is: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other command greater than these.”

    Like

  2. I was a bit apprehensive about seeing this movie. Mainly because, I am a Christian, and I feared the judgement by other “Christians”. However, after some prayer, self-thinking and getting the opinions of some trusted friends, I decided that we would see it and we loved it! It was so well made and followed the original story line pretty close. I don’t like remakes that steer too far from the original.

    The “gay” moments were pretty subtle. Like someone said before, some kids wouldn’t even pick up on them, if the parents wouldn’t make a big deal about it. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t love the idea of homosexuality being normalized, at all… but it’s out there. I feel as Christians parents, we must be vigilant in our stance and use these opportunities as teachable moments. Teach that while we dislike and disagree with the sin, we love that sinner, like Jesus loves us!

    I loved that you said that Disney isn’t a Christian company. I have said that, too. We can’t expect non-Christian companies to be in any way, shape, or form, Christ-like. If we would boycott every non-Christian company, we would have nowhere to shop! By all means, support Christian companies, when possible, but it just isn’t always an option. And I can’t see giving up Disney or Starbucks. 😉

    Like

    1. I don’t like homosexuality being normalized either, but it does seem that that agenda is being pushed more and more by the mainstream. I think as parents we have a responsibility to not react but rather respond. And our response is to equip our kids to handle these types of issues by knowing the truth from God’s Word. I wish I could shelter my kids completely from these kinds of things, but that’s impossible. Nor would it do them any favors. Eventually, they will come face to face with this issue (and others like it). The best legacy that we can leave is to teach our kids what it truly means to be in the world and not of it. We need to teach them to stand on the foundation of the Word of God, to think for themselves and own their own faith, and to reach out to the world around them in love rather than judgement and condemnation.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s