Lessons from Beauty and the Beast

Movie Reviews are not my normal but Beauty and the Beast is anything but normal.

I had no idea how excited I was about this movie until yesterday. I asked my husband at least 5 times if he had purchased the tickets yet. I wanted to leave two hours before the movie started to stand in line and legitimately complained that none of the other members of my family were willing, even bringing up that time I stood in line for 24 hours for the opening of the last Lord of the Rings movie and all I was asking was 45 minutes. As I sat in the nearly empty theater saving a row of seats while the husband and kids enjoyed the arcade I could barely contain myself. I’m not one to get excited over movies. I see two to three a year and they are rarely picked by me.

When the movie started and the Disney castle came into view I almost started crying. I was as shocked by my own reaction as anyone. I felt ten years old and I didn’t want the feeling to end. When the credits rolled I wanted to watch the movie again, as in right that moment. I could have sat and watched all night.

The last month and a half my husband has been recovering from spinal surgery and we’ve been slightly recluse. Perhaps it’s better to say I’ve been living with my head under a rock and did not realize how controversial this movie had become in the news!

Christians aren’t supposed to watch this movie.

I watched #BeautyandtheBeast and LOVED it! #stillachristian Click To Tweet

Or perhaps I had seen snippets and did not pay attention because it felt like paranoia as I scrolled past. I had heard Franklin Graham called for a boycott but that seemed par for the course. The conservative wing has been boycotting Disney off and on for years. I had no idea it had become such a big thing! Or that Russia and Alabama had become allies in their dislike for Le Fou (Gaston’s sidekick).

When do we begin promoting what we are for rather than what we are against?

Here is my humble review of the movie (spoiler alert, skip to the next section):

Kindness changes hearts. Gaston was narcissistic, much like the prince before he was cursed by the enchantress. The Beast and Gaston stood in stark contrast, why? Because Belle’s kindness enchanted the Beast but never broke the cruel layers of Gaston. It was the community around the Beast who loved him and refused to give up on him. They helped Belle, through their own selflessness and compassion, break through the Beast’s selfishness. Gaston was surrounded by a community who adored and worshiped him and allowed him to be truly cruel. They fed his narcissism.

The love stories in this movie were about family and friendships. It was about community and how the lack of community (and hero worship) creates monsters. Conflict and mistakes happened when people were selfish and jumped to conclusions following leaders who only wanted their own success.

Gaston was a nightmare. There was one scene that made my skin crawl. Gaston attacks Maurice and Le Fou tries to calm him by telling him to go to his happy place. Sitting in a theater on a military base there was silence in the theater as Le Fou and Gaston spoke of war, killing, and widows as the spoil of war. The tension was palpable in the theater during this scene. I have yet to meet a soldier whose happy place was war. Even Le Fou comes to the realization he is on the wrong side and has been mistreated and used by Gaston.

When Gaston died my 8-year-old cheered. He was vilified past redemption. If there is a conversation that needs to happen in my house it is about the value of life, even the life of our enemies. Every life is valuable!

This movie was an excellent demonstration of kindness, dedication, and goodness. There are many illustrations throughout the movie that can be used to teach Christian values. Let’s focus on those. I’d love to hear which ones you saw in the comments below.

This is not the church I grew up in.

This is not the church I fell in love with.

This is not the god I serve.

Long ago I fell in love with a leader who gave his life willingly for others. A man who spoke harsh words to religious leaders and offered healing to the sick and grace to everyone who crossed his path. He did not live in fear, though he knew his kindness and his teachings would lead to death. He loved, he hurt with the broken, fed the hungry, and offered hope.

More often than not, loving others means sacrifice. I want to live into the example of Christ. His focus was not on safety or political gain. It was never about using force or intimidation to make the world mirror himself.

I am walking away from what conservative evangelical right-wing Christianity has become and walking towards a life that lives out the sacrifice and love of Christ.

The night before his crucifixion he knelt and washed the feet of his disciples, he broke bread with them and told them of his coming death. He said:

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

John 13:34-35

Let us be known for what we stand for, not for what we stand against. I believe in the priesthood of all believers, the power of the Holy Spirit, the strength of a community, and the importance of kindness to change lives.

Sexual Tension in Beauty and the Beast

For a breakdown of each “questionable” moment visit Encouragingmomsathome.com. We come to some very different conclusions about the movie but for those who haven’t seen it and want more specifics, she gives them. She did forget one scene. The sexual tension between the candlestick and duster was intense, more so then any other couple in the entire movie (if we’re going to nitpick we can’t leave out the two characters who are all over each other the entire movie).

I’ll leave you with this. At the end of the movie my 10-year-old and I had the following conversation.

K: “There was a gay character?”

Me: “Yes.”

K: “You mean gay as the old-fashioned word, right? Happy. They were all gay mom.”


Over the Moon Link Party
Thinking Outside The Pot



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4 thoughts on “Lessons from Beauty and the Beast

  1. I appreciate your perspective and the themes that you have pointed out are some very valuable ones to discuss. However, after reading your summery I get the feeling that even if the gay moment had not been a factor, this movie seems to have been too adult for younger viewers. I originally felt that the entrance of a gay character might be too adult a theme for my children but overall it sounds like many of the themes might have been. (Like your reference to the cruelty of Gaston and the sexual tension of other characters.) I have been thinking a lot of this and have changed my position some what I don’t think it was the gay moment that made me hesitant it is the overall adult themes presented. Like you said there are various issues this movie presented that could spark important conversations on a more mature level. But these were not themes to be discussed with the 3-6 year old range. Thank you for your perspective it gave me a lot to ponder.

    • I felt the movie was fine for my tribe, my youngest being 8. The sexual tension of the other characters were very understated, which was actually my point as they were more obvious then LeFou. Gaston’s cruelty was horrid and may be too much for a 3-year-old. I’d suggest watching it first for the littles, I was told by one child in the co-op class I taught today (she was 6 or 7) that she was bored during the movie. I know my youngest wouldn’t sit for anything that wasn’t a cartoon until recently 🙂

  2. Very interesting post, Hope. We haven’t gone to see the movie yet, but I know it will most likely be bought to join other Disney movies on the shelf.

    I totally agree that my Christian faith is not one that needs to be attacking specific groups. It’s as if people have forgotten huge swaths of Christ’s teaching. Or, maybe they just are so laser focused on ONE thing that they don’t realize the baby was tossed out with the bathwater. We are called to love. And, we are called to speak the truth WITH love.

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