On Friday, March 17, a childhood classic came back to the big screen in the form of a live action movie. “Beauty and the Beast,” starring Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as the Beast, went straight to the top of the box office. This movie was highly anticipated not only for the children who love Disney and its princesses, but also for the adults who grew up with the beautiful fairy tale.
I was only about two years old when the original movie came out in theaters. I don’t remember much, but my mother always likes to tell me the story of how I bothered her so much to watch this film over and over on our old VHS tape by saying “booty and the beast” over and over. It was not until my mom finally sat me down and helped me say the word Be-a-u-ty that I was able to say the word properly.
When I was older, I realized that not only did I love the story and songs (mainly “Gaston”), but I also resonated with Belle. I was an only child growing up in Southwest Philadelphia and rarely left the house. I had multiple “imaginary friends” to make up for the lack of real friends along with being a lonely child. I, too, felt that life was “boring” and “dull.” I always longed for adventure, just like the headstrong princess.
I have always loved villains, and Gaston (Luke Evans) was no exception. I may not have liked his personality or way of thinking about women, but the songs that transpired with him I enjoyed the most. I had always loved the “bad boy” kinds of characters, even if I despised men like him in reality.
His sidekick La Fou (Josh Gad) was also entranced by the overly “manly” antagonist, which is why he has become the very first openly gay character in the Disney franchise. There was a lot of controversy around this new development, even before the movie was released. Some very conservative communities refused to show the new film.
La Fou started out being almost equal to Gaston. He enjoyed his company and struggled with his own feelings towards him.
“La Fou is somebody who one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss him,” director Bill Condon said about this new development of the character.
In the original cartoon version, La Fou is silly and gets beat up and pushed around by Gaston. A friend of mine, Sarajane Sein, played La Fou in her high school production.
“I accidentally got punched in the face one time by Gaston, like for real,” she explained when talking about her experience.
She had originally not liked the movie growing up, but becoming the part of La Fou really made her enjoy the tale. While many parents were surprised, even angered, by the revelation of his sexuality, Sara had always known the sidekick was gay. She felt as if the song “Gaston” was more like a love song than a song to get his idol, or maybe even his crush to cheer up.
In all, I highly suggest seeing the movie and reliving your childhood if you loved this movie growing up. This fairy tale has always been an easy way to escape from reality and believe in magic, true love and enchantment. Ignore technical things and simply enjoy the wonderful tale that has been around for 26 years now, a tale that is as old as time.
Clare Turner is a fourth-year student majoring in English writings track with a minor in Spanish.