— Old Lady Movie Night

Old Lady Movie Night: ‘Beauty and the Beast'

Old Lady Movie Night is a weekly (or so I try) column in which we gather, dressed like grandmothers, and watch/criticize movies in the spirit of, say, Dorothy Zbornak. (If she were in her 70s and 80s.) You’re not old if you like these movies, you’re not old if you know them. But sometimes I like to think of myself as the lady on The Simpsons who throws cats at people while wearing cardigans.

What is UP, people of the planet. I am writing this from the comfort of my kitchen table, and overlooking my backyard which is currently doing its best to resemble a Disney film. Translation: there are a lot of birds and chipmunks and I saw a bunny, too. And that’s where the similarities to Disney end. (The grass is brown and awful-looking; also I can see a McDonald’s from my window.) (Which, hey. No shame or blame in that — it’s just not very “Belle.”)

But do you know what is Belle? Beauty and the Beast, the first Disney movie I’m going to write about. I loved this movie. I loved it SO MUCH. Now, over 20 years later and as a grown-ass woman, I will say I watch it in shock. First, that it was a movie made for children. (It’s so scary —  honestly, it is dark.) Second, that it didn’t come with a disclaimer like, “This is a movie about Stockholm Syndrome.” Third, that the Beast ended up being a guy with a ponytail. I can’t even tell you how disappointed I’d be if I were Belle. I don’t care if it’s France in 1800-something.

Anywho. Pour yourself a cup of tea, try to stifle your anger towards Gaston (just kidding — he is THE WORST), and let’s Old Lady this up.

1. So yes, this is a movie about Stockholm Syndrome

So Belle’s dad WILLINGLY lets her stay at the castle, then Belle is treated TERRIBLY by this creature who TRIED TO KILL HER DAD. But! All of a sudden, the servants convince him to try being nice, and it . . . works? Which, okay, I haven’t been in Belle’s position before. (*knock on wood*) But even if he had saved me from a pack of wolves, I doubt I’d start considering him to be super wonderful. Like, look. I get it. This is a movie about inner beauty. But ultimately I would think: a) I’m having a psychotic break because this wolf creature has a voice, and the furniture talks, and that is impossible, and b) Remember how you forced me to be in your castle, Beast? Also, you never told me your name. This is a sever imbalance of power.

2. Also, what kind of “enchantress” turns a teen into a Beast for not letting a homeless person inside?

HE WAS A TEENAGER. I don’t even answer the door now if it’s not somebody I know because I don’t know what their deal is, let alone when I was a teen. Um, no, I’m sorry, you can’t sleep over at my house, person I’ve never seen before. I can call a cab for you? Or take you to a shelter? But . . . right?! Is this a thing people used to do? So she turns this guy into a Beast because he was practicing common sense. I’d like a movie on who this lady thought she was. Like, was she proud of herself? “Yeah, I knocked on the door of a teen boy’s house and when he wouldn’t let me in, I turned him into a creature.” And maybe he WAS rude — but when I was a teen, I was a nightmare. I once snuck into a closed McDonald’s when I was drunk to use the bathroom. I was 15 and I also worked there. At least he didn’t do that.

See also: why punish the servants?! THEY JUST WORK THERE.

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