We all love the old tale of Beauty and the Beast and I was very excited to see the new release of this classic film. There are several things I loved about this movie, and one of them was the examples it showed about the power of empathy when we go beyond what’s convenient for us, and truly see another human being at a time of need, and then choose to do the right thing when it matters the most.
As many of you know, I was invited to attend a special screening of the movie here in Raleigh on Monday, right before it releases nationwide this coming Friday, March 17. I really like the fact that they remained true to the original story but with all of the upgrades modern technology provides, it was beautifully made, with an impeccable cinematography and visual effects that make it a must-watch. But, it was also more than that, and I loved its focus on the power of empathy as a healing force.
Yes, it is a love story. A story we grew up with that we now get to see in its live action version. There are, however, important themes in this movie that are relevant to our time, subtle touches that didn’t changed the story, but made it more realistic to the multicultural and diverse reality of our time. One of those themes is about the power of empathy that happen before the characters fall in love. As a mom, I appreciate having the opportunity to talk to my daughter a valuable lesson through a movie so beautifully made.
Another important theme along with the power of empathy is about the power we all have as one. In any given situation, we can follow the crowd knowing inside that it doesn’t feel right, or we can stand in principle and generate change, even when we are alone in our efforts. We see the “crowd of followers” in one scene of the movie in which someone is wrongfully accused while others just play along. It is a great teaching moment that you can use to talk to your children about empathy and principles.
Beauty and the Beast made me think about the many times we see that in our society today; when a narrative is created about a person or a group of people and people just follow along. Often times, it comes down to the power of empathy and our ability to practice it and recognize there is power in one. Especially as parents, it is important for us to show our children the importance of these values and prepare them for real life.
The Power of Empathy, Love And Diversity
As a movie lover, I’ve seen many remakes of classic films that are mainly created to connect younger audiences to those stories. I must confess that while as a kid I loved Beauty and the Beast, as an adult I didn’t like so much the traditional damsel saved by a charming prince concept. Belle, as her name states, has traditionally been portrait as a gorgeous woman who falls in love after being captive, and this new version added more depth to the character.
While the main and more obvious theme of the movie is inner beauty and seeing people for who they are inside, I found other important themes in this story. I loved that Disney took a step to make a statement by having diverse characters, not only in terms of race, but having an obvious gay character too. While so many are outraged by this fact, I find it honest to have true representation of our society as art is a vehicle to tell our stories.
Having small children there are topics I haven’t discuss with them, but I want them to be exposed to differences and how the real world looks like. Most importantly, I want them to learn about the power of empathy and kindness. Learning that respect is something everyone deserves, even when people are different, don’t look like us, don’t share the same values and faith, it is critical that we see people in their humanity.
I also loved seeing an empowered Belle, who showed not only love to her father, but who was brave and stood for what she believed in. Also, because while she showed empathy and kindness to the beast, when he asked her if she will be happy staying there with him, she was honest with him, even knowing that wasn’t the answer he wanted to hear, and without knowing if he would get angry and retaliate.
The movie is entertaining, exciting, beautiful and it can be a bit scary for younger audiences. I intend to take my daughter to see it (she is almost 8), but I will guide her through some of the scenes since she is a very sensitive child. I recommend not bringing children that are younger than 8.
Overall, the Beauty and the Beast remake was very well done and I think most people are going to love it. For diverse audiences there is the added value of inclusion and a picture that is closer to our reality.
Can’t wait for all of you to see it and let me know what you think! Beauty and the Beast will be in theaters this coming Friday, March 17. #BeOurGuest #BeautyAndTheBeast #MulticulturalLiving #Movies