Beauties and the Beast

My film companions through the past 25 years!

Let me just say I have never been a cartoon fan. Back in my girlhood, every movie opened with at least one animated short film and I wasn’t crazy about any of them. Ditto with my long Mommy-hood season, I managed to see a couple of feature animated films with my four kids but I squirmed more than they did.

Until Beauty and the Beast. I really don’t remember if we ever saw it in the theater. Probably not as the kids were quite happy to watch a rare movie on the VCR in that crazy time of life. I could dig deep in my journals and find out when it hit our home screen but I’m sure it was in 1992, twenty-five years ago.

From the first time I watched it, sitting on the my living floor with the crowd, I loved this movie. No other animated film caught my heart like this one. (I haven’t seen Frozen yet.) Over the years, when one of them wanted to watch it, I would pop in for any or all of it, especially at the end when the Beast transformed back to a prince. I usually cried through that part.

The first appetizer for the new Beauty and the Beast movie came last May right after Mother’s Day. My youngest daughter send her sister and me a trailer (I still call them previews.)

It looked so tantalizing and we put it on our calendars for “whenever it comes out.” It finally did.

After about seventeen emails, we finally found a date that worked for the three of us, last Thursday night, the evening before the official release. I may or may not have sent them an evite about it. (They are used to, shall we say, my occasional exuberance.) The day felt like Christmas Eve to me, I couldn’t wait to get there.

We bought our tickets ahead of time for the 3 D version and I arrived at the theater 90 minutes before the film started. I’m learning to make lots of room for events important to me. Crowding them squishes out some of the delight.

I had fun engaging with the other B & B devotees until the girls arrived. They scooted into the seats I carefully reserved and from the first note of the fabulous score to the last, I sat spellbound. Tears slipped out at several points and flowed at the end. Like I said, I love this movie.

I haven’t quite figured out my fascination, not that I need to, but I do wonder. Maybe I have felt like both Belle and the Beast at different points in my life. The powerful transformation scene at the end also seems like a foretaste of heaven when all creation is restored.

Or maybe it was watching it with my daughters. The first time they were little girls, enthralled with the idea of fairy tales. Later as teenagers, watching it together fuzzed the lines that sometimes separated us. Now we are all grown-ups and each have our own tales of wandering in forests and dancing at balls. Sitting between them last Thursday felt strong and solid and full of joy.

Next season, I’ll watch it with my granddaughters, we’re all the same age while the film is rolling.

The critics can say what they want, I give it a zillion stars.

The “Tale as old as Time” worked it’s magic again.

Hope for the best.

Tish

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