I had the privilege of attending an advanced screening of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast earlier this week. I was pleasantly surprised and thoroughly enjoyed the film!
The live action film stays true to the animated story. There are a few added scenes that help fill in the blanks from the animated version – such as what happened to Belle’s mother. Many of your favorite songs return, as well as 3 new songs – all composed by Alan Menken (the original composer of the animated-version). The additional songs are phenomenal! The graphics and filmography are excellent – especially during the dining scene when Be Our Guest is sung. I viewed this film in IMAX 3D – and it really enhanced the visuals! Normally, I don’t recommend seeing films in 3D (because there’s not much added effect), but watching Beauty and the Beast in IMAX 3D really makes a difference! If you have the opportunity, splurge for the IMAX 3D version! (Hint: Watch out for snowballs!)
Let’s address the elephant in the room… you’ve all heard it – this film has an “exclusively gay moment” according to director, Bill Condon. Really? Honestly, I’d say it was hardly a moment – as it was maybe 2 seconds long, at most. During the final scene, a celebratory ballroom dance is occurring, and LeFou is dancing with a female partner – suddenly a man cuts in and dances with LeFou. If you blink, you’ll miss it. Not sure I’d classify it as “exclusive” either… as other dancing couples are still in frame. There’s nothing romantic about it – these two might as well just be sharing a drink together. And does it even mean LeFou is gay? Not necessarily. According to Josh Gad, during the world premiere of the film, “there was nothing in the script that said ‘LeFou is gay.'”
Personally, I’m more inclined to say the henchman who cut in to dance with LeFou is the character who many would coin as “gay” rather than LeFou. This particular henchman receives a “makeover” by the Wardrobe character, along with 2 other men. The other two men are horrified that the Wardrobe dressed them up in make-up, wigs and dresses. The 3rd henchman, however, smiles and seems over-the-top-thrilled with his new look and runs off happily, while the Wardrobe sings “Be free!”- a “nod” towards transgenderism, if I’m not mistaken.
But alas, Bill Condon has stated that LeFou is gay, therefore I watched the film waiting for this aforementioned moment. In addition to the ballroom dance, here are the possible subtleties that occurred that people may (or may not) say hints towards LeFou being gay:
- Early on in the film, LeFou asks Gaston why he isn’t happy with just the two of them? (Some may say this is a slightly gay instance, others may claim it’s just a question of friendship.)
- At another point, Gaston asks LeFou why he hasn’t settled down with a woman. LeFou jokes that “he’s too clingy.” (Again, just a response, but some may read more into this.)
- When LeFou sings “Gaston!” he hugs Gaston from behind, in which Gaston pushes him away. (Friendly hug or something more?)
- During the castle attack, Mrs. Potts tells LeFou he can do better than Gaston. (As in finding a better friend? Or better partner?)
There you have it. Are these “gay” subtleties or just LeFou being eccentric? It would have been better for the Director to leave well enough alone and let the audience come to their own conclusions. Rather, he seemed to push his own agenda.
The Kid Factor
Well, based on what you just read above, I wouldn’t judge anyone if they chose to not view it or wait for it to come out on DVD so that any questionable moments can be skipped over.
Children may be afraid of the visual effects used within the movie. The Beast does have a temper and to see him growl, yell or bare his teeth may alarm children. His appearance as a whole may frighten young children. There are wolves that attempt to attack Maurice, Belle and briefly attack the Beast. The Beast’s castle is often dark, dusty and areas are falling apart. Gaston does use a gun and shoots the Beast three times – while we do not see any blood, the act of shooting is portrayed. There are a couple of moments where (in IMAX 3D) it appears elements are flying at you – this is quite humorous for adults, but may startle kids.
I always recommend viewers to stay through the credits. The credits do offer glimpses of artistry and scenery pulled from the film. There is no additional scene following the credits, but the music is enjoyable to hear again – especially Evermore sung by Josh Groban. Take a listen:
Beauty and the Beast opens nationwide on March 17 (2017) starring Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Ian McKellan and Emma Thompson.
Disclaimer: I was given complimentary tickets to view Beauty and the Beast in advance in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.