I’m annoyed at myself because my original post was SO GOOD and I, in my excitement I guess, did not save my work and lost it! I may have shed a tear or two…anyway…
So, first the introduction, in this beautiful photo I have two of my nieces and two of my friend’s daughters. The two oldest girls in the picture just turned ten! Lexy is in the burgundy and gold dress and Melissa is in the yellow. They are ten, and we dressed like princesses and we went to the movies. And, it was marvelous.
As you can see from this photo, we just finished watching Beauty and the Beast, the live action film, and boy oh boy do I have some stuff to talk about. This film has been talked about for weeks because of the alleged controversy brought about by a comment from the director. I am happy to have now watched it myself and even more happy to write my own opinions surrounding the film.
This is my only disclaimer—THERE MAY BE A COUPLE OF SPOILERS IN THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPHS SO IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE SPOILED, WAIT UNTIL AFTER YOU WATCH THE MOVIE TO READ THIS POST.
There, I have disclaimed. Now, on to the first big deal—you guys, how did I NOT KNOW that Audra McDonald was in this movie! I LOVE her! I don’t watch much t.v., but I have seen her several times and I have seen her sing and she is simply gorgeous and talented and marvelous and my poor mother was next to me being elbowed by me as I LOUDLY whispered in super excitement when I saw her on the screen! Sorry mom!
Ok, so we know that was not the “problem” everyone had with this movie. Now, before I continue I need to remind every one of a few things since I’ve been absent for a while. First, I am a Christian. One of my scriptural mottos in life is 2 Timothy 2:15—“do your best to present yourself as one approved; a worker who does not need to be ashamed, who correctly handles the Word of Truth” (NIV). I am a proud Christian. I am not ashamed of the Gospel. I KNOW I will get heat for not agreeing with certain things and believing in others, and that is ok because persecution is in the job description. I am a good ole Southern Baptist girl. I am moderately conservative, I home school, and I am kind of a hippie. I love God, I believe in His Word, and I strive to fulfill the Great Commission. I have values that may be different from yours. We are all different. I am simply reminding everyone about me so they know where I am coming from with my review.
I am just going to go through the scenes that I specifically saw addressed over and over again in the media and we will begin with Gaston’s song, you know, the one that LeFou sings to Gaston after Belle turns him down. So it begins and there is some ear rubbing that may be awkward for some. To me, I thought it was kind of funny because I have a nephew who likes to rub other people’s ears. It’s like a comfort thing for him so this wasn’t something that seemed off to me, I guess I’m just kind of used to it. Myrah also has this quirk where she likes to play with my moles or Scott’s scar when she wants comfort so it just wasn’t something that seemed off…but that’s just me. I don’t think that was indecent or inappropriate (technically, LeFou passed the job onto someone else so he could do his song). There were also changes in wording made to the song, but there was not a single line that I could pick out that seemed in any way sexual or that sexualized Gaston from LeFou’s point of view. You could probably argue that LeFou’s movements SEEMED feminine at certain points, but honestly, even that is kind of a stretch in my opinion.
The ONLY reason it is seen as that way is because the director told us beforehand he wanted us to see it that way! In the animated version, LeFou is infatuated with Gaston, this did not change for the live action version. Now, there were a couple of awkward moments I will address, but to say these are “gay” moments is a stretch, even for the director to say it himself would be a stretch in my opinion. There was one point where someone said something to LeFou about him deserving better treatment speaking of the way Gaston treated him, and I don’t think any of us would argue that point. Gaston is a bully, LeFou deserves a better best friend! Another, I believe Mrs. Potts was talking to LeFou (but could be wrong, this is my SECOND writing since I lost the first so it isn’t as fresh) and there was an awkward moment where he stated he hadn’t found the right GIRL and emphasized the word girl. Again, a HUGE stretch, but since the rest of the country is stretching, I figured I better include it.
Now, onto the men who get attacked by the wardrobe (Audra McDonald you guys!), she does dress three men up as women, two run off and one kind of smiles awkwardly before he runs off and the wardrobe SINGS the words “be free” at least twice. In this scene, there is SO MUCH COMMOTION and action that I can’t be SURE, but I believe there was already a song in the background and she was singing with the song and it conveniently happened at this time. Now, I’m SURE this was done intentionally, but was it obvious? No. Would I have noticed it had I not read about it a gazillion times before seeing the movie? No. Will my twelve or seven-year old pick up on it? No. They will be too busy laughing at this scene, the same way they laughed at the scene in the cartoon.
Onto the dance scene because this was supposedly the big deal, right? In the end there is a dance scene with LeFou. They were having the big finale dance just as in the cartoon, and it seems as though LeFou and the guy who was happy about his girl clothes earlier (though he is now dressed in guy clothes again) both make the wrong turn at the same time and for about .4 seconds “dance” together. THEN they apparently go back to dancing with women. I know this because I specifically searched the big screen for a glimpse of two men dancing together and there was nothing to be found after that .4 second glimpse. It literally looked like an oopsie on the men’s parts, though they both, again, smiled awkwardly. That is it. THAT is what we were all worried about? Really? Please, PLEASE hear the sarcasm in my voice as I type that because, you guys, we are fighting the wrong battles here.
You know what, we were all bamboozled. You know what happened, the director knew he could say the word “gay” and get a bunch of Christians up in arms which would in turn get the rest of America up in arms and he would get another billion or so on opening weekend because we ALL wanted to see what the fuss was about. We allowed a man’s words dictate what we believed without ever seeing it for ourselves. We allowed a man’s words to guide our actions. I am embarrassed, and I am sad about that. The director did this for attention, to make Christians mad and to make everyone else happy and essentially to get us all to the movies. Well played, dude, because it worked!
You know what I really want to talk about? I want to discuss and see discussed how LeFou got the short end of the stick when it comes to media attention. Here is LeFou afraid to stand up to Gaston in this whole movie, doing wrong alongside Gaston otherwise Gaston will beat him up and you know what never got mentioned in the media hype? LeFou’s change from evil to good. When Gaston wanted to leave Maurice to die LeFou tried to talk him out of it. Then he tried to save Maurice and Belle and stood up for them saying they weren’t crazy. Finally, LeFou kept Mrs. Potts from being broken AND joined her in fighting against the bad guys to protect the castle so they all could live happily ever after! The whole time leading up to the movie I couldn’t figure out why LeFou would be in that final dance scene, that’s why! His heart changed, you guys! WHY wasn’t THAT the story? Why wasn’t that the focus of all the hoopla? WHY OH WHY did we have to focus on one sentence the director spoke when after all that bad rap LeFou was a hero in the movie?
Christians, isn’t this what Christ asks of us? Isn’t this what God wants for us? His desire is for our hearts to be changed by the Spirit so we can believe in Jesus and go to heaven! His desire is for us to turn away from evil. I mean, sure LeFou standing up to a bully and defending the castle isn’t the SAME as our hearts changing and going to heaven, but I never thought Narnia (as much as I love the movies) was really accurate either. I actually think LeFou may be my favorite character in the live action movie because of this. No other villager had a change of heart until AFTER the beast was turned back into a man and the castle was restored. LeFou alone had that change of heart and made the choice to fight for the castle before anything changed. Good job LeFou!
Now, I am pretty conservative. So, if you just don’t watch Disney because you just don’t watch Disney movies in general, I totally get it. But, if you are fleeing this movie for fear of seeing some kind of same sex interaction, fear no more and go see it. The director got EXACTLY what he wanted by saying one tiny word—gay. He got attention. We caved in and gave him that attention. He started internet wars because of this! Guys! We HAVE TO STOP FEEDING THESE LIONS! I am talking to people on both sides of the Christian line here, too. We are feeding the hate in the world, which is one thing we ALL have in common right now–we all want the hate to STOP. There was literally NO REASON for the director to say a word except to stir up trouble. And I say this not because I have a problem with a person’s lifestyle choice in any way, I say this because if he was really out to make a statement and make Disney’s first “openly gay” character, he would have actually done it. It would have been an obvious thing, not these minuscule supposed innuendos that one has to literally guess at and grasp for straws to believe it is an actual statement being made. You wanna stand up for some rights, hey, I am with you and I’ll be beside you, but don’t cry out about making a statement when you are really crying out “go see my movie because it MIGHT have a hint at some statement hidden in a word behind a bunch of clatter in the busiest scene in the move”. I’m calling the bull on that one!
If you aren’t a Christian, that’s ok, I still love you. If you are gay, I love you. If you are divorced, I love you. If you have an addiction, I love you. If you have stolen or lied or ever sinned in any way, I love you. And guess what, I am with you! I am a Christian, but I am corrupt in every way because I am also human! I sin every day. You know what, though, grace. I am saved by grace and I am humbled and amazed every day that God grants me grace.I can’t believe the Spirit was able to crush through the hard shell of my mortal soul and show me the path to eternal life; someone like ME! None of us is perfect, but this is a movie guys. It is make believe. I want my children to grow up loving everyone while also accepting the values my husband and I hold dear, but I also don’t want them to stop believing in fairy tales yet either.
So, to summarize, Audra McDonald plays the wardrobe and she’s one of my faves. The outrage over LeFou is pretty preposterous, the “taboo” dancing scene lasts maybe .4 seconds (Melissa’s mom actually missed it, that’s how tiny it was), and LeFou is a hero. So, if you want to take your kids to this movie and walk away with a lesson, walk away with a lesson about standing up to bullies or how hard it is to do the right thing. Talk them about how LeFou had a change of heart and couldn’t stand to see innocent people being hurt. Explain to them how difficult that must have been for LeFou because he had to walk away from his best friend and literally go against every other villager in order to do the right thing. THAT is a big deal. That SHOULD HAVE been the big deal all along!
Now, I THINK I covered all the points I covered in my long-lost post that was so well written (more tears here), but if you think I left something out, feel free to comment and let me know. I am always happy to engage in healthy conversation, however, I will NOT allow any type of demeaning, degrading, insulting, or attacking to occur. Please be graceful with your comments, questions, and remarks.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind…love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two