I finally had the opportunity to see the much talked about film starring Emma Watson – Beauty and the Beast. For those who haven’t seen it yet, spoiler alert!
The movie starts of with the dazzling beauty Emma grew to be, from the hairy Hermione a lot of us first fell in love with. She sings a song which is a lament about the small French town she is stuck in, where girls are not allowed to read and are expected to be painted lapdogs for men.
The first delightful scene that champions the feminist cause Watson is a poster-girl of, is when her Belle is pursued by a definitely handsome but ‘boorish’ Gaston. Unlike the animated movie, Watson’s Belle is more clear in her intent and just slams the door on his face. Her ‘no’ to Gaston is loud and clear. She minces no words in telling him that he is not for her.
But this is just one of the few fleeting scenes that reflect the feminism ideologies of the modern world. And it’s all right. The movie is still pretty enthralling.
But I want to shift my focus to the one thing the movie was getting negative attention for – the supposed ‘gay scene’ in the movie. Some countries were outraged that a movie meant for children could even fathom such a thing and there was a thin looming threat of a ban in conservative pockets.
Gaston’s friend LeFou in the movie was reported to be gay, his affections for the antagonist stretch beyond the platonic limits of male-companionship. And some of us thought, “great, Disney is finally bringing in some LGBT representation”. But after you see the movie, you feel like all this outrage was purely laughable.
LeFou’s character is a jolly good-natured fellow, who hero-worships Gaston and is always wondering why the man is so crazy about Belle. He provides some comic relief, with his bumbling ways and dialogues, but that’s all. There is hardly anything overtly gay about him in the movie.
In the last few minutes of the movie, a celebratory ball is thrown in the castle and a man accidentally waltzes in to his arms. And the man is probably gay too, this we are expected to infer from a five second scene which takes place earlier – when the man, along with 2 other men is forcibly dressed into women’s clothes and make-up by the magical wardrobe and he is the only one who seems very happy with the transformation. But does that make him gay? Or a wannabe cross-dresser? Or a man who aspires to be a woman?
What I am trying to say is – that there is hardly anything gay in Beauty and the Beast. Definitely nothing that parents who are not very LGBT friendly should worry about. It’s disappointing even. All that outrage and absolutely no real fodder for the fire. Sigh.