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Film / Beauty and the Beast (2014)

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"Return me to him. It is my only wish. My only desire..."

Directed by Christophe Gans (Brotherhood of the Wolf) and released in 2014, La Belle et la Bête (Beauty and the Beast) is a French adaptation of the classic French fairy tale Beauty and the Beast by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, while appearing to take some cues from both the Jean Cocteau and Disney versions of the story.

The film stars Léa Seydoux as Belle, Vincent Cassel as the Beast and André Dussollier as Belle's father.


This film provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: This version of Belle will not hesitate to grab a knife to defend herself with, should she feel threatened.
  • Adaptational Alternate Ending: Unlike the 1946 version where Belle and the Beast fly away to his kingdom where she will be his queen, this Beast's kingdom has been gone for centuries, and thus they live a peaceful, quiet life in the countryside. Belle's sisters also get a happy ending here instead of being her servants in the original.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The Beast gets a complex backstory in the film, unlike other adaptations where he's turned into a monster for his parents' mistakes or for being a Jerkass. The film also includes a subplot involving thieves, which leads to a large battle in the third act.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Belle's siblings may find her slightly annoying, and her sisters may be envious of her beauty, but compared to most retellings of the story, it becomes very clear that they all do care for her. Her sisters in particular remain vain and self-centered but don't conspire against her, trick her and betray her like in the 1946 version.
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  • Adaptational Personality Change: Belle is more of an Action Girl, isn't afraid to use her looks to fool others and speaks her mind more freely than in other versions, where she's a more passive straightforward Nice Girl.
  • Almost Kiss: After chasing Belle across an icy lake, the Beast is crouched over her; their faces come very close and she seems to lean up to kiss him - and then she falls through the ice.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: How Anne and Clotilde consider Belle and their three brothers: Maxime, Jean-Baptiste and Tristan. Maxime also treats his two younger brothers this way, until his gambling put the family into serious danger, and he needs their help.
  • Award-Bait Song: "Sauras-tu m'aimer ?" by Yoann Freget. An English version, entitled "How Can You Love Me?", can be found too.
  • Babies Ever After: In this version, Belle and the Prince are revealed to have two children together in the end.
  • Badass Normal: Belle's brothers are able to stave off the castle's cursed vines with only their swords long enough for Belle to break the curse on the Beast.
  • Baleful Polymorph: The Beast is the obvious one but this version provides other examples as the forest god takes his curse out on the whole hunting party. Where his men become the guardian statutes and the small creatures that inhabit the castle are actually his hunting dogs.
  • Beast and Beauty: It's right there in the title.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Played straight with Belle. The same can be said of the Princess.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted, after her trip on horseback through the forest to the Beast castle, Belle's face and hands are covered in deep cuts and scratches from impact with the branches. Later when trying to find her way back in time to warn the Beast, she crawls through the brushel and is knicked so hard that it draws blood on her forehead.
  • Brainless Beauty: Averted; Belle states during her first dinner with the Beast that she uses her innocent looks to fool people around her.
  • Call to Agriculture: Belle and the Prince settle down on her father's country farm rather than stay in the castle.
  • Costume Porn: Belle has some pretty dresses even before she goes to the Beast's castle, but she's dressed in incredible gowns when she resides there.
  • Daddy's Girl: The film flat-out states Belle is her father's favorite.
  • Dance of Romance: Belle engages in one with the Beast in exchange for a visit with her family, though she visibly quite likes it on its own.
  • Death by Childbirth: Belle's mother died giving birth to her, and she mentions that her siblings look at her differently because of it.
  • Dying Curse: After being left behind to die, Astrid in her final moments before being crushed curses Perducus.
    Astrid: (bitterly) Beware my love, your death will be the most horrible of all.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Belle and the Prince, and Belle's family.
  • Egomaniac Hunter: The prince before he's turned into the Beast. He's obsessed with killing a golden furred doe. It comes back to bite him later, and hard.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Being changed into a monster and living alone in your deserted castle for centuries is a dreadful fate, but being smothered and torn apart by very thorny vines, as happens to Perducas is quite awful, if only quicker.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: Well, it's not like Belle's father could have known the roses were so precious, and there was nothing indicating that they were forbidden — or that there was anybody left to punish him for it. But they're extremely precious to the Beast, who demands his life in exchange for a single stolen rose.
  • Framing Device: The story with the Beast is set up as a fairytale by the narrator (Belle) to her two children. Details in the ending, such as the Prince's dogs and Belle's doll, show that it really did happen.
  • Gilded Cage: After Belle gives herself to the Beast in exchange for her father's life, she is housed in a luxurious statesroom, is waited on by the castle's servants, wears extravagant outfits, and eats rich food to her heart's content, but is not allowed to leave, and every night at dinner Beast asks for her hand in marriage.
  • Gorgeous Period Dress: While the main body of the story takes place in the early 19th century - complete with empire line gowns and enormous bonnets - the Beast's castle has apparently been caught in a time bubble since the probable 16th century. This means that Belle gets to wear a lot of beautiful dresses from bygone eras, complete with embroidered bodices and positively voluminous skirts!
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Belle, and the Princess.
  • The Hero: Belle is the main character of the film.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: When Belle hears about her father's bargain, she takes the initiative and rides off at once to give herself to the Beast, in order to save not only him but the whole family.
  • Humiliation Conga: Once the family's lost their fortune, passersby soundly mock Belle's sisters as they're leaving for the country while they try to hide behind their fans.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Though she is long dead and buried, the Prince's fae wife can still interact with the living, and rather than being jealous and aggressive towards Belle, she helps her understand what happened in the castle and why the Beast was cursed to begin with.
    • As Belle learns, even after the Prince kills the Princess she bears him no ill will. Her final words are a plea to her father, the God of the Forest, to spare her husband, for he had filled her with love. Her plea falls on deaf ears unfortunately.
  • Jerkass God: Played with, while the God of the Forest does curse the Prince and his court out of vengeance for killing his daughter, the Princess he still throws in a way to break the curse. More so after hearing Belle's heartfelt prayer that she be reunited with the Beast he splits the forest open, clearing her a path to the castle.
  • Karmic Death: After abandoning Astrid to save his own skin, Perducus is killed by the cursed vines in a very gruesome manner.
  • Lady in Red: The last dress worn by Belle in the climax is blood red. Incidentally or not, red is also the prince's colour.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The Prince was turned into a Beast by the Forest God, as punishment for hunting and killing his daughter, who was disguised as a deer at the time.
  • Living Statue: At the climax, several of the castle statues (the cursed members of the Prince's hunting party) come to life to fight off the intruders.
  • The Lost Lenore: The merchant's wife is a minor one, she having died giving birth to Belle. Also, the Prince's first wife, the fairy Princess, who he inadvertently killed while she was in the form of a deer.
  • Love Martyr: A familial version, Belle believes that her siblings all hate her for causing their mother's death by childbirth. While they do treat her differently, they do love her, especially her brothers. That said Belle chooses to act on some level as a servant to them, and her final words before surrendering herself as hostage to the Beast in their father's place best sums up her feelings.
    Belle: (Turning back before darting out the door) Don't forget to love me...
    (She runs out into the darkness as her father and brothers try to chase her down calling after her)
  • Magic Mirror: Belle comes across several areas in the castle that show her glimpses of the Beast's past.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: The Prince has this reaction, after successful shooting down the golden deer that his wife had begged him not to continue hunting, turns out to be the Princess all along, and also killing his unborn heir in the process. Unfortunately for him, the Princess father, the God of the Forest, not only turns him into a beast, but also condemns him to live with this regret for eternity or until someone breaks his curse.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Played with, as the Prince's first wife was killed centuries ago, though he still remembers her, and she plays an important part in the story.
  • Narrator All Along: In the end the storyteller is revealed to be Belle having read her children a bedtime story, though this isn't much of a twist for fans of Seydoux, who will pick her out immediately.
  • Nature Spirit: The Beast's first wife, The Princess, was one, and she kept it a secret from him. She also turned into the golden furred doe, which he later killed.
  • Not Worth Killing: Belle convinces the Beast not to kill Percudas because he's not worth it. He responds by killing the Beast with the golden arrow.
  • Offing the Offspring: Due to killing the Princess, the Prince ends up killing his unborn heir as well.
  • Oh, Crap!: Belle is scared stiff when she first sees the Beast's face - albeit in a reflection - and actually grabs a dinner knife to fend him off!
  • The Power of Love: The Beast's curse can only be broken by the love of a woman.
  • Real After All: Belle and the Prince's story is presented as a fairy tale from a storybook to their two children, but subtle hints in their cottage reveal it to be true.
    • Likewise Belle has this reaction after coming across the Princess' tomb the night after she dreamt of her and the Prince.
  • Really 700 Years Old: The Prince has been trapped in the castle for centuries. He seems to return to mortality at the end, though.
  • Rewatch Bonus: In case you miss it originally there are multiple shots giving partial glimpses of the giant statues on the castle grounds before they come alive at the climax.
  • Riches to Rags: As in the original story, the family loses their fortune and have to move to the country to try and live off the land.
  • Scenery Porn: Even though it's a ruin, the Beast's castle and the green, verdant land that it's situated in are gorgeous.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Perducas leaves Astrid behind to die, when the cursed statues and thorns begin attacking the group.
  • Second Love: Belle is the second love for the Beast. He accidentally killed his first wife, a forest nymph in the shape of a golden deer.
  • Shout-Out: The dance scene between the Beast and Belle and the scene of the bad guys using a tree as a battering ram to break the castle's door are nods to Disney's version, while the gold arrow used to kill the Prince's first wife and the Beast is taken from Cocteau's movie. The monstrous vines tearing both the castle and some characters apart at the end are very similar to the Kraken's tentacles in Pirates of the Caribbean. They are also a nod to another fairy tale, Sleeping Beauty, as well as the castle being locked out of time.
  • Storming the Castle: During the climax.
  • Spirit World: The Prince's castle has turned into one after the curse, becoming inaccessible without his or Pan's help.
  • Spirit Advisor: The Princess serves as one to Belle, showing her the past so as to understand the Beast's curse, in hopes that she might be able to break his spell. Likewise, she calls out to Astrid, warning her that the curse will claim her and Percadus and their entourage. While Astrid tries to heed her advice, it falls on her lover's deaf ears.
  • Spoiled Sweet: Belle's sisters, who are used to the finer things in life, and are terribly ditzy and silly, but really do love their father and siblings.
  • Tarot Motifs: A reading is done for Perducas near the beginning, auguring a stranger bringing great riches... until the last card is revealed once he's harassing said stranger: the hanged man, signifying a paradox or danger in this situation.
  • Token Good Teammate: Tristan, the youngest of Belle's brothers. He refuses to join the assault on the Beast's castle and later helps Belle return there to save the Beast from Perducas.
  • True Blue Femininity: Belle dons a deep blue dress for her dance with the Beast.
  • Walking Spoiler: Everything about the Princess. Notice all the blank spaces, they most likely are talking about her and how her husband's actions doomed his kingdom.
  • When Trees Attack: The Beast tells Belle not to even think of running away, as the forest would close itself against her. When the castle's under attack, the roots and branches that have overrun it come to life and fight back.