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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Kids familiar with the animated version will learn about adaptations and the impact of live-action stories vs. animated ones. They'll also become familiar with one of the most universal fairy tales in Western literature and learn lessons about compassion and humility.
It's important to see beneath the surface (looks, social class, etc.) to really know who people are. The Beast's curse illustrates the importance of generosity of spirit rather than greed and shows the value of humility. Belle's love of books demonstrates the transformative power of reading/education, and her interest in teaching a girl to read shows that girls should be every bit as educated as boys. Also, you can't just stand by when someone treats someone else poorly; you should act. Freedom is essential to true happiness. Themes also include compassion, empathy, and curiosity.
Positive Role Models
Belle is intelligent, strong-willed, curious, and kind. She's a loving daughter who gives up her freedom in exchange for her father's. Maurice is doting and sweet. The Beast learns to love because of his relationship with Belle, and Belle sees beyond his rough exterior to his gentler soul, buried beneath his demanding, beastly exterior. The castle servants work together to help Belle see beyond the Beast's scarier aspects. Several characters redeem themselves. Gaston is selfish, shallow, and cruel, but he's clearly intended to be a villain/poor example. The supporting cast is very diverse.
Violence & Scariness
Scary, intense scenes involving snarling, hungry wolves. They attack Maurice after a tree suddenly falls in front of his wagon in a dark, spooky forest, and they go after Belle when she leaves the castle (the Beast fights them and is left wounded and bleeding). The Beast growls/roars several times. Belle takes a snowball to the face. (Spoiler alert!) Flashbacks reveal that the prince's and Belle's mothers both died of sickness; their children are separated from them in both cases (sad/upsetting). Gaston yells at Maurice, threatens him, punches him, and ties him to a tree and leaves him there. Gaston has Maurice and Belle arrested and violently incites mob violence (pitchforks, torches, battering rams, etc.) and uses a gun to shoot the Beast. Villagers and castle servants fight. One character plummets to their death as the castle crumbles.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Flirting, dancing (both opposite-sex and same-sex couples), and a couple of kisses. Some dresses show a little cleavage.
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Insults include "idiot," "fool," "crazy," "delusional," "peculiar," "hag," etc. Also "shut up" and a reference to "eternal damnation."
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Products & Purchases
Nothing in the film itself, but Disney has plenty of merchandising tie-ins, from apparel and accessories to toys.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Villagers drink at their local tavern.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Beauty and the Beast is Disney's live-action remake of the classic 1991 animated musical, with Emma Watson as book-loving, independent Belle and Dan Stevens as the Beast. Although the movie will appeal to even very young viewers, especially those familiar with the original, the remake's violent sequences can be very intense, with a few jump-worthy and upsetting moments (several involving snarling wolves, others guns) that leave characters bloodied, injured, and, in one case, dead. As always, the story encourages viewers to look beyond the superficial and to be compassionate, curious, humble, and generous. Director Bill Condon took care to make sure that this version had diverse supporting characters, including a gay LeFou (Josh Gad) -- Gaston's sidekick, who briefly dances with a man -- and people of color not represented in the animated version. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Watson is an ideal Belle in this wonderful remake that's at once nostalgic and new, bringing to life the musical both for kids and life-long adult fans. Her Belle is relatable and sympathetic, with her curious eyes and aura of clever bookishness and strong-willed personality (Watson was also Hermione Granger, after all!). It turns out Watson can sing well, too; she's no rival to six-time Tony-winning co-star Audra McDonald, who plays Madame Garderobe, but her voice is clear and crisp and full of the longing and wanderlust that Belle conveys so beautifully in Alan Menken's songs. Stevens does a fine job with the Beast, playing up the character's frustration, anger, underlying sadness -- and eventual love -- in his voice and gestures.
But we all know that Beauty and the Beast is just as much about the supporting characters as it is the central couple, and director Bill Condon's ensemble doesn't disappoint. Kline's Maurice is even funnier than his bumbling animated counterpart, and McGregor and McKellen are hilarious as odd-couple duo Lumiere and Cogsworth. Thompson is comforting as Mrs. Potts, and her boy Chip is ever as lovable. And then there's Evans as narcissistic Gaston, who's so full of himself that he can't fathom why Belle won't agree to be his bride, and the amazing Josh Gad, who steals the show as Gaston's adoring (and smitten) sidekick LeFou. Menken's original songs are rendered with appropriate spectacle, particularly "Be Our Guest," but the new ones are decidedly bittersweet, underscoring the sadness both Belle and Beast feel about their situations. The gorgeous costumes and extraordinary set design add to the movie's overall delight, but it's the performances that stand out in this memorable musical remake.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.