Beauty and the Beast (2014 film)
||This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the French Wikipedia. (January 2015)|
|Beauty and the Beast|
|Directed by||Christophe Gans|
|Produced by||Richard Grandpierre|
|Written by||Christophe Gans
|Based on||Beauty and the Beast
by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve
|Music by||Pierre Adenot|
|Edited by||Sébastien Prangère|
|Box office||US$49.1 million (international)|
Beauty and the Beast (French: La Belle et la Bête) is a Franco-German romantic fantasy film based on the traditional fairy tale of the same name by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve. Written by Christophe Gans and Sandra Vo-Anh and directed by Gans, the film stars Léa Seydoux as Belle and Vincent Cassel as the Beast.
The film was screened out of competition at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival and was released in France on 12 February 2014 to positive reviews, becoming a box office success. International reviews were more mixed. It was nominated for the People's Choice Award for Best European Film at the 27th European Film Awards. It also received three nominations at the 40th César Awards, winning Best Production Design for Thierry Flamand.
In France, 1810, a widowed merchant (André Dussollier) is forced to sell his town house and many of his belongings after his ships are lost at sea, leaving him bankrupt. He moves to a simple house in the countryside with his six children, though the only one happy with the change is his youngest daughter, Belle (Léa Seydoux). One day news arrives that one of the merchant's ships is intact, so he and his eldest son return to town in the hopes of collecting the goods that will restore their wealth. However, the goods are seized by the local authorities, and the merchant is forced to flee into the forest when Perducas (Eduardo Noriega) threatens to harm him over his son's debts.
While lost in the forest, the merchant stumbles upon the magical domain of the Beast (Vincent Cassel). The merchant takes treasure from the castle, but is captured by the Beast for stealing a single rose for Belle. The Beast allows the merchant to go and say goodbye to his children, but says he must return to take his punishment, or his entire family will be killed. Feeling responsible, Belle steals her father's horse and returns to the castle to take her father's fate.
At the castle, Belle is given luxurious goods and allowed to roam the grounds, but must return every evening for dinner with the Beast. At dinner, the Beast asks Belle if she will love him, but she rejects his advances. At night, Belle has vivid dreams about the castle as it used to be, and of the Prince who used to live in it. The Prince was in love with a Princess (Yvonne Catterfeld), who agreed to marry him as long as he promised to stop hunting an elusive golden deer in the woods, saying that his obsession keeps him away from her.
Belle asks the Beast if he will allow her to see her family one more time. He agrees, but warns her that if she doesn't return the next day as promised, he will die. Belle returns home, where she finds that her father is bedridden and her siblings are hiding from Perducas and his minions. Belle's eldest brother sees her clothing and assumes there is more treasure to be found. He goes to Perducas and his men, bargaining the treasure in the castle for his families' safety. The group travel to the castle where they raid its treasure, which includes a golden arrow held by a statue.
Belle has a final dream about how the Prince broke his promise and killed the golden deer in the woods with a golden arrow. While dying, the golden deer transformed into the Princess, who revealed that she has been a forest nymph all along, and her father is the god of the forest. As punishment, the god of the forest transformed the Prince into the Beast and his friends into statues, saying that the spell can only be broken if someone loves him as he is.
Belle awakens and learns that her brothers and Perducas have gone to the Beast's castle. She races after them, arriving just as the Beast is killing the intruders. The Beast stops his attack when Belle begs for mercy, but Perducas uses the golden arrow to stab the Beast, mortally wounding him. Belle has her brothers, now regretful, carry the Beast into the castle to a well of magical healing water. While dying, the Beast asks whether Belle could ever love him, and she replies that she already does. The Beast sinks into the water, and when he rises up again he has transformed back into the Prince.
The film ends with the story being told by Belle to her two young children. They are living in the same countryside house with Belle's father, and Belle goes outside to greet her husband, the Prince, who has just returned.
- Vincent Cassel as La Bête (The Beast) / Le Prince (The Prince)
- Léa Seydoux as Belle
- André Dussollier as Le marchand (The Merchant) / Belle's Father
- Eduardo Noriega as Perducas
- Myriam Charleins as Astrid
- Sara Giraudeau as Clotilde
- Audrey Lamy as Anne
- Jonathan Demurge as Jean-Baptiste
- Nicolas Gob as Maxime
- Louka Meliava as Tristan
- Yvonne Catterfeld as La Princesse (The Princess)
- Dejan Bucin as Louis
In Japan, the film topped the box office on its release, making it the first non-English-language foreign film to top the Japanese box office since Red Cliff II in 2009, and the first French film to top the Japanese box office since Mathieu Kassovitz's The Crimson Rivers in 2001.
The film earned a total of US$49.1 million internationally.
In France, the film received positive reviews. France Télévisions called the film Christophe Gans' "greatest success". They praised the colours and contrasts of the landscape, which they said recalled the work of American painter Maxfield Parrish, and the visual style, which they compared to films by Mario Bava and Tsui Hark. They also noted that Gans had successfully differentiated the film from the source material and prior adaptations, while keeping the "spirit" of the original story. Laurent Pecha of EcranLarge remarked that while the film was "far from perfect", it was "so ambitious" compared to the "doldrums" of French cinema that Gans won her over. She called the introduction "spectacular" and praised Gans for his willingness to make the audience believe the "incredible and improbable love story", praising the "excellent" Seydoux and Cassel. Writing for TF1, Olivier Corriez gave the film 4 stars out of 5 and remarked that it was not easy to offer a modern interpretation of Beauty and the Beast as it had been adapted so many times before, but found Gans' film "flamboyant" but "accessible to all audiences". He said that it "plays wonderfully on contrasts" and praised Seydoux for her "charm and tenderness" and Cassel for providing "brutality [and] weakness."
International reviews were more mixed. Jessica Kiang of Indiewire thought the film was "immensely, crushingly boring" and Seydoux wasted in a role that required her to do little more than "heave her breasts and fall over things prettily."
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- Official website (French)
- Beauty and the Beast at the Internet Movie Database
- Beauty and the Beast at Rotten Tomatoes