My honest take on Beauty and the Beast controversy...
Last night, I took my sister and her oldest daughter to Beauty and the Beast. The theatre was packed with mothers and fathers with small children. One child was even dressed up in a costume ball gown - like the one Belle wears in the Christmas animated Beauty and the Beast movie. She was adorable!
My background: I'm super conservative, BUT, I do enjoy crime and forensic shows, sitcoms, etc. (basically I'm not a strict Christian program watcher although I enjoy those too).
So there is much controversy surrounding the new real-life musical remake of the Disney animated Beauty and the Beast. Mostly an "exclusively gay moment" as quoted by the director, some material that supports/promotes LGBTQ lifestyle. Because of the controversy, I watched with a more skeptical eye. For the purpose of this post, I'm only going to write about the "controversial" parts.
The only parts of the film that could be seen as controversial, in my opinion, involve scenes with Josh Gad's character La Fou and a couple scenes with one particular villager.
La Fou can be viewed as a character with feminine traits but in my opinion, that is reaching. What I would say about the character portrayal is that he is more concerned with emulating Gaston than anything. He wants to BE Gaston, not be WITH Gaston. He stands up tall when he is standing near Gaston, tries to mirror Gaston's facial expressions and even his words. I don't think La Fou is in love with Gaston, I would see him more as admiring Gaston's character... until he realizes that Gaston is a cruel man to Belle's father, Maurice.
As for the villager, there is a scene where the villagers are attacking the castle and the furniture is fighting back. The opera-singing wardrobe fights three men by dressing them up as ladies. This happens with one man in the animated film as well. The part where is turns fuzzy is when two of the men run away horrified but the third man embraces the women's clothes and looks pleased as he glides away down the stairs. Is it right? No. I don't believe that cross-dressing is right. Was it funny? A little.
The "exclusively gay moment" happens at the very end of the movie. There is a scene where all is restored to normal and there are many men and women dressed up very formally (think Marie Antoinette-esqu) dancing to music. The dancing is a more formal, hand-touching only, type of dancing. The moment occurs when everyone switches partners and La Fou and the villager from earlier end up together. The moment lasts about three or four seconds and then the view switches to other dancers. La Fou and the villager don't seem to change their facial expressions during the dance to somehow show that they enjoy dancing with one another, it's more like an accident that happens and then the movie moves on.
- La Fou didn't seem controversial to me.
- Did those scenes with the man in a woman's dress and the men dancing together need to be included? No, I don't think they add anything to the story.
- Do I think kids will even catch on? Not really unless they're told about it.
- Does this worry me? A little, but not enough to not watch the movie.
- Do I think this was made to be a lot bigger than it needed to be? Yes.
I believe that the point of including these things is to normalize what shouldn't be normal. Are the occurrences needed to tell the story? No. Do I think they're harmful? I think it shows a comedic side of the story. Obviously, this movie isn't real life so will kids make the jump from this to seeing that a man in a woman's dress in real life is okay? I doubt it. It's almost too extravagant that it doesn't apply. But then, do I think it's right? No. I think that if the director didn't say anything, it wouldn't have amounted to much. His comments which I don't even think are correct, soured so much publicity and I'm sure that was the point.
They could have kept the scenes out and kept true to the original animated film, but it's done... and Disney is not going to change it.
I think I rambled but I hope you get what I'm trying to say.