I have made no secret of the fact that while I’m a Disney Fan, I don’t like everything they do, as some fans. But there’s a saving grace. Even in my least favorite Disney Princess film, there was one song.
Ironically, it’s the one with the same title as the movie. “Beauty and The Beast.”
For some reason, this song was just more palatable to me than the film itself. It basically sums up what the film’s message is, which isn’t such a bad one. But I could never swallow it in that format.
However, in song form, I actually really like it. If you haven’t heard the song a million times by now, I’ll sum it up for you:
The song is about how what’s happening is a tale as old as time, certain as the sun rising from the east.
In other words, what we’re seeing is something that’s happened before and is certain to happen again. That’s important to remember.
The song also describes the two people as both scared, and neither prepared for what’s taking place.
Young love right? Well, sort of.
But the parts that I actually think are unusual are as follows:
Barely even friends, then somebody bends, unexpectedly…
Bitter sweet and strange, finding you can change, learning you were wrong.
I really had to pause when I finally knew what the lyrics were. (It took years before I did.)
Perhaps it doesn’t seem too out of the ordinary to my readers, but personally, I rarely hear this sort of message in children’s films anymore. even Disney ones are losing it, though Frozen does stand out as a recent example to the contrary.
What’s unusual about that one lyric “Bittersweet and strange, finding you can change, learning you were wrong” is the Bittersweet part.
We could all name a bunch of stories, both real and fictional, in which someone is aghast when they realize they are wrong, and they feel guilty.
But the nice thing here is that the song admits there is sometimes a phenomenon, strange as it is, in which it is partially a relief to find out you were wrong.
I don’t know about you, but I like to be right. Being wrong tends to scare me. It may be one of my worst weaknesses. Yet even I can at least imagine how being wrong about something could be a pleasant thing.
It’s bitter because no one with any honesty can say change of that sort isn’t painful and difficult, even while it’s rewarding.
To refer back to Frozen for a moment, I have said before that that movie admits that we are messed up and need to change, but it does so in such a way that we can feel the utter relief of both our main characters at the end when they realize they both can change, and want to change, and have changed.
If I may so, this also appears in Brave, when Merida and her Mother realize that they needed to change their attitudes toward each other and do so without realizing it.
Did you know that the name of the Beast in Prince form is Adam?
Call me crazy, but I think that it was not a mere chance. Beauty and the Beast mirrors the Garden of Eden story in several ways. The forbidden plant that both of them handle poorly; The prince rejecting it, Belle nearly touching it after being warned to stay away from the West Wing. Then Belle reenacts leaving the garden by running away, just as the Prince reenacts becoming cursed by sin to become something he is not supposed to be.
In the original tale, Beauty is more of a Christ figure in taking her father’s place to pay his debt, but the movie focused less on that part than on her own mistakes.
But where the movie and book both detour from the Fall story is that they skip ahead to the redemption part of it. Where both the main characters learn to love instead of fear, and to forgive, and to admit they were wrong, and eventually death itself is turned backwards.
I’m not theorizing that this is a Christian film in secret by any means (the remake really destroys that idea) but inadvertently, it has the Christian message woven into it. In a gentler form than some other movies, in that the key to the whole thing ends up being two people changing each other.
By the way, everyone always makes fun of the fact that Belle is a classic example of a woman thinking she can change an ogreish man. But in the book, and movie to an extent, it’s the Beast who changes her perspective.
I’d have liked Belle a lot more if she started the movie with more misconceptions about outward appearance that eventually got overturned, instead of being all perfect yet still strangely annoying.
To be honest, I think the reason I can’t stand her is because she spends her whole first number complaining about the people around her instead of proactively trying to befriend them and see the best in them, and treat them like actual people.
Hmm… just like she does with the Beast, at first.
But oddly enough she doesn’t really learn her lesson because she goes back to the town and is no better to anyone.
Well, I’ve already complained about this film enough to make plenty of folks mad as it is.
Anyway, so to conclude, changing is a thing to be celebrated. I thank God I am not the same person I was five years ago. (Five years exactly as of this month.)
I’ll say this: Most people are secretly frustrated not by the fact that others don’t change, but by the fact that they believe they themselves cannot.
That’s all for now, until next time–Natasha.