This may get my man card revoked, but I’m just gonna come right out and say it: I love Disney’s Beauty & the Beast. I don’t mean I think of it as one of the greatest animated films of all time. No, I mean I have a ridiculous teenage girl crush on it. Two of my favorite things from our recent trip to Disney World were getting to see the musical production and getting to eat lunch in the Be Our Guest restaurant. My family was sitting there commenting on the food, and I just kept thinking, “I’m sitting in the Beast’s dining room!”
I know. It’s somewhat pathetic.
I’ve tried over the years to put my finger on why I would feel this way. I used to believe it was simply because I felt the movie was extremely well-made, with a plot that flowed nicely, excellent voice performances, and sparkling animation. There was always something deeper than that, though, even though I couldn’t verbalize what it was. Now that I’m facing up to life with depression, I think I’ve finally figured it out.
I think I’m the Beast.
The picture here was taken at the restaurant I mentioned earlier, and it sort of captures how I feel a lot of the time. There’s the person next to me, seemingly perfect, having everything together, patiently waiting for me to change. And then there’s me, an ugly mess, angry, rude sometimes, hiding secrets, but really wishing at the same time that I could get that person to like me. I love that the Beast (By the way, does anyone actually know the Prince’s name? Did he even have one? I don’t think he was “Prince Beast.”) manages to get his act together enough by the end of the film to be redeemed. Sometimes I feel as if I’ll be stuck in Beast mode forever.
There’s also the dynamic at play that everyone around the Beast – namely, the cursed castle staff – not only would like to see him improve for his own sake, but are also depending on him for their own sakes as well. I think maybe the Beast feels the pressure, and that adds to his already foul mood. He knows he’s letting those around him down, but he can’t seem to change.
Or perhaps I’m reading too much into a Disney cartoon. I’m sure there are some excellent Stockholm Theories out there as well.
The “tale as old as time” is the love story, obviously, but it could refer to the struggle people have had for years and years with feeling like, well, beasts. At the risk of over-thinking this any further, I’ll just go back to my original statement: I love Disney’s Beauty & the Beast. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some snow globes to paint and I have to complete my nightly diary entry. Hee-hee…