Essay about Beauty and the Beast: Differences Between the Book and the Movie (2017)


In Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont's "Beauty and the Beast” and the 2017 Disney film adaptation there are different versions of a love story. The plot of the story features some differences between the film and the tale. These differences include Beauty’s family concept, the changing of the villains in the film, the backstory of the Beast, and the role of the rose in both stories.

The concept of the Beauty family changes in the story, as well as in the live-action movie. The way the tale handles Beauty's story is very different from the movie; this is mainly reflected in Beauty's family structure. Beauty is the youngest daughter of a wealthy merchant father who loses everything due to fate's misfortunes. The way Beauty behaves in the story is always honest and kind, despite the contempt and mistreatment that her sisters give her. When Beauty’s family loses everything, they plunge into sadness and exile with the need to live in a house far from town. As the scenes progress, Beauty’s father makes a mistake and puts his life in danger. However, Beauty decides to sacrifice her life by giving herself to the Beast, she accepts to do it because of the goodness in her heart, as well as recognizing that her siblings need their father. Despite this, her older sisters do not care about her younger sister's life. The sisters are the villains in the story by being envious, proud and with an evil heart. On the contrary, Beauty's family is different in the live-action movie. Beauty is an only child, and her father is nothing more than an inventor. As in the short story, Beauty continues to be that young woman with a humble and noble heart who offers her life for her father's, and with this action, the course of both stories develop. Though as explained above, the concept of family is different in the film, so the change in villains is also noticeable.

The change of the villains in the movie is a very important issue to highlight. In the Disney live-action movie, the plot of Beauty's family differs from the short story, therefore Beauty’s evil sisters are not villains here. In their replacement, the film presents Gaston, a stubborn, vain man, extremely selfish and with an evil heart, and LeFou, his partner in adventures, who despite not being as evil as Gaston, is the villain with Gaston in the film. The reality of these villains is far removed from what Beauty's sisters are in the short story. The sisters in the tale are envious of Beauty, despite being her sister, they always want to mock and judge Beauty for her actions and decisions. While in the movie, the villains, Gaston and LeFou, are not against Beauty until they discover that she is falling in love with a Beast, thus Gaston gets jealous and decides to kill the Beast. However, the film’s exemplification of the villains is remarkably different from the short story. In the movie, specifically at the end, Gaston begins to take on the role of the villain, turning the townspeople against Beauty and the Beast, imprisoning Beauty’s father, and shooting the Beast to death. Nonetheless, Gaston does it without even understanding the background of who Beast is. Gaston does it out of envy and jealousy of losing the woman he wanted to marry.

The backstory of the Beast's curse is central to the unfolding of both stories. Beast is a prince who was cursed to transform into a Beast. However, the way the short story and the Disney film handle the curse is very different. The tale does not mention anything about a curse, or any fairy who has punished Beast for becoming such. The short story does not need it either, since the plot fits the central focus quite well, which is love regardless of appearances. However, at the end of the story, when Beast is dying, and Beauty agrees to marry him, he transforms into a prince. However, the way the short story describes the curse is very vague. The tale only mentions that the prince was condemned by an evil fairy to remain in the form of a Beast until a beautiful girl agrees to marry him. On the other hand, the Disney movie, from its introductory scene, presents a very distant kingdom where a selfish and vain prince lives. One stormy night, an old woman appears before the prince, asking for shelter, but he despises her because of her appearance. The woman is actually a powerful sorceress who punishes the prince with a spell, turning him into a beast, until he is able to love and be loved. The entire plot of the film is based on this curse. If someone cannot love the Beast, he will remain in that form, as well as all the people who live in the castle with him. The way the film represents this curse is through the rose that the Beast keeps.

The use of the rose leads to a different course in the film's plot than in the short story. As mentioned above, the film represents the Beast's curse through the rose that he keeps in his castle. As the rose dies, and all the petals of it start to fall, the Beast will be condemned to remain as such forever, like all the characters that live in his castle. It is uncertain how long the Beast has been dealing with the curse, but when he meets Beauty, it is noticeable that his time is running out, and he is in a hurry to be loved. It is vital to highlight that the curse and the rose, as the film unfolds, become one of the central points of the film. Unlike the tale, the rose in the film represents the curse, which indirectly leads to the development of the plot of both stories, which is the infatuation of Beauty and the Beast. Moreover, in the tale, the curse of the Beast is neither exemplified nor developed. Throughout the story, the Beast desperately asks Beauty to marry him, but it is not understood that there is a curse on the beast, nor a rose or any object that exemplifies this curse. Hence, the differences between the two stories are remarkable when it comes to the use of the rose and the curse of the beast.

In Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont's "Beauty and the Beast" and the 2017 Disney film adaptation, different versions of a love story were presented that, based on the differences, contributed to the development of the plot. These differences are the concept of Beauty's family, the changing of the villains, the backstory of the Beast, and the use of the rose.

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