Way back in the day, when I was still a young little kiddo worshipping the Olsen twins and singing along to Disney songs, there was no such thing as “Best Animated Film” at the Oscars. Back in 1991, there was only “Best Picture,” and there were very few animated movies that have ever been nominated in that honorable category. The very first animated film to ever contend for the “Best Picture” of the whole year was that little Disney movie about a beautiful, intelligent young woman who falls in love with a jerky, well, Beast.
And don’t we all love Belle? Is she not one of the most admirable Disney Princesses, due to her self-reliance, loyalty, and lack of hesitation to say “no”? Yes, yes, she is. Thank you, sweet Belle, for giving us a great example of a real woman in a Disney sea of questionable characters. And thank you Academy for recognizing such a fantastic movie of our childhood.
1. Being different, funny, and odd is just fine.
The first song in Beauty and the Beast just might be my very favorite because I have always found a little bit of myself in Belle, the beauty who has absolutely no interest in being beautiful as a definition of her personality. Some women are beautiful and play into that; and some women are beautiful and don’t seem to care at all. I like being pretty, but if I had to give it all up in order to keep my brains, I would. Hell, if I had to give it all up to have a voice like Rachel Berry, I would in a hot second.
Let’s be real, though. All women are beautiful. I love the ladies.
“It’s not right for a woman to read. Soon she starts getting “ideas,” and “thinking.”
2. The definition of the words “conceited” and “provincial.”
In the song “Belle,” Belle craves “much more’ than her “provincial life,” and in one particular scene, she calls Gaston “conceited.” Now when I was young, there were plenty of spoken lines in Disney movies that I never understood (like “Allah forbid you have any daughters!” from Aladdin), but since I habitually looked up definitions of words that I didn’t know when I was wee, I immediately taught myself what the words in Beauty and the Beast meant, which is why I am a super genius these days.
So then I found out that I am conceited.
And I always wanted more than my provincial life. I used to hate the small town life….and then I moved to an even smaller town than I grew up in, and now I never want to leave my small town ever because I like local eggs and knowing my bartender’s name. So sue me.
3. Having standards is where it’s at.
I have dated jerks, let’s be real. In fact, I have only dated jerks.
But I have standards now. Through the roof standards now. You have to hit rock bottom before you know what it is like to really be loved and appreciated sometimes–when you are stubborn, like this girl.
Anyway, obvi Belle hates Gaston and makes a fool out of him all of the time because he thinks that just because he is “super hot,” he can make Belle his wife. She shuts him down on the daily, and I love her relentless denial. You go, girl.
My best friend just reminded me that our middle school had this motivational speaker come talk to us (well, we had like five over our three years there) and he used this analogy about “not being Gastons,” so I think he meant “don’t bully people,” but I think he could have also meant “don’t drink raw eggs,” or “don’t have too much chest hair,” or “don’t assume everyone wants to marry you.” I mean, there are a lot of meanings to that phrase, but we got the point, I guess.
4. Girls do not like angry men.
When Belle first starts staying at the castle, the Beast tries to get her to eat dinner with him and he goes about it in a very demanding way–which never works on chicks, man, at least it should never work.
I like a little passion, don’t get me wrong–I just don’t want to be yelled at when it is time for dinner. It shouldn’t be all that convincing to get a girl to eat, for crying out loud! Especially when they sing to you the whole time! And they have the gray stuff! It’s delicious!
Jesus, that was so many exclamation points.
5. People do not like what they do not understand.
“We don’t like what we don’t understand, in fact it scares us, and this monster is mysterious at least.”
The villagers in this movie are so hilarious because they just like…state everything they feel. All of their lines are lessons. They just openly admit that they are simple-minded folk, and feel uncomfortable with unfamiliarity and pretty, but “weird” girls, and just basically everything.
6. Nothing like a little angry banter to bring some love into your life.
Beast: Aaargh! That hurts!
Belle: If you’d hold still, it wouldn’t hurt as much!
Beast: Well if you hadn’t have run away, this wouldn’t have happened.
Belle: If you hadn’t frightened me, I wouldn’t have run away!
Beast: Well you shouldn’t have been in the west *wing*!
Belle: Well, you should learn to control your temper. Now, hold still. This might sting a little. By the way, thank you for saving my life.
Beast: You’re welcome.
I just googled to see what zodiac signs these two could be, and everyone is saying the Beast is a Leo or an Aries, but don’t you think he’s kinda Taurus-like? Ugh, anyway, I am a huge fan of banter. It only means you have fantastic chemistry, and obviously these two do.
Fighting is okay, unless it’s like…not okay, you know?
Tell me how jealous you all are of my eloquence. Go ahead.
7. It’s okay to not realize who your Prince is…until chapter three.
“Oh, isn’t this amazing / it’s my favorite part because…you’ll see / here’s where she meets Prince Charming / but she won’t discover that it’s him / til chapter three!”
You know how sometimes you are totally in love with someone and then he breaks your heart, and you cry on the shoulder of your best friend, and then you lather, rinse, repeat with some other unworthy, pathetic excuse for a life form, and eventually you realize that hey! The real love of your life has your three coats of mascara all over his nice, strong shoulder, and he loves you, and he always has. Aww, Princes aren’t that hard to find, you know.
Alright, I am not necessarily saying I am speaking from experience, but I also like to think I am only halfway through the first chapter of my life, and I am super wordy, so this could all go on for a very long time.
8. Character > appearance.
So then, even when he changes into a nice looking prince at the end, it’s like…you already loved him for his personality, you know?
9. How to get a girl.
Lumiere: Impress her with your rapier wit.
Mrs. Potts: But be gentle.
Lumiere: Shower her with compliments.
Mrs. Potts: But be sincere.
Lumiere: And above all!
Mrs. Potts and Lumiere: You must control your temper!
…I mean, that’s pretty much it. I don’t really have anything else to add. She might like you if you make her laugh, or if you buy her an iPad, as well. (Speaking for a friend.)
10. True love is selfless.
And really, really sad sometimes.
Belle comes back and risks her life to save the Beast and check on him and then she basically revives him with a kiss. (I also have that power.) The Beast lets Belle go, even though he doesn’t want to, because he loves her and she knows how much she loves her father. How romantic is that?!
Roommate Brittney: Except he sucks because he kept her prisoner!
Me: But he let her go after he fell in love!
Roommate Brittney: After he fell in love! Commitment issues!
I think we already know that I have really weird interpretations of appropriate behavior in life and love, so maybe I should start listening to Roommate Brittney and not chasing after Beasts.
But meh, I probably won’t.