When was the last time you did exactly what you wanted, with whom you wanted, and when you wanted? Why don’t you do that more often? What’s stopping you? I bet I know. Like so many people, myself included, you've probably stopped yourself from doing and being with whom you wanted because you were overly concerned with what others may think or say. I’ll let you in on a little secret: the people that are the happiest don’t really care about status quo. They march to the beat of their very own drum and are loving every minute of it. Kind of like Belle, from the movie Beauty and the Beast. A story about a “different” girl whose life doesn’t revolve around finding a guy, Belle is rather inquisitive, romantic and interested in other, worldly things… and she just so happens to find love in the process of being true to herself. Beauty and the Beast has stood the test of time as a wonderfully, inspiring children’s story (for the benefit of both girls and boys), but it’s also about giving yourself permission to live your life the way you want irrespective of others’ opinions. That’s why Beauty and the Beast is a great reminder for us all to live our truth. And what better lesson to teach young girls and boys!
In the movie Beauty and the Beast, a beautiful, young woman by the name of Belle (Emma Watson) lives in a small village that is less that enthused by her blatant opposing to being like all the other village girls. Truth be told, Belle was never like the other girls: she grew up in a single-parent home with just her father Maurice (Kevin Kline), an artist. Despite her beauty, Belle liked to get lost in books, frequenting the library to expand her mind and get lost in other worlds. Others, particularly her peers who were more obsessed with achieving male attention, were not impressed. Neither was Gaston (Luke Evans), a former soldier that wanted Belle’s hand in marriage. Belle also has a heart of gold and like any loving daughter, she would do anything for those she loves, especially her father. And that she did when her father disappeared and ended up the prisoner of the Beast (Dan Stevens), a young prince who once had a misunderstanding with an enchantress who then turned him into a hideous creature and cast a spell on him that could only be reversed by returned love. With a little trickery, Belle was able to switch places with her father and become the Beast’s prisoner, freeing her father and ensuring his safety in the process. Soon, an unlikely love story began to take shape in the Beast’s magical mansion of singing teapots and chandeliers. Over time, both Belle and the Beast were able to find common ground and eventually establish a friendship. This came in handy when Belle’s father landed in trouble with the townsfolk, a charge lead by Gaston, which ultimately landed half the town at the Beast’s doorstep, wanting to confront the creature. After a theatrical, climactic tussle and a seemingly fatal end for the love-softened Beast, Belle’s returned loved for the creature helps end the curse inflicted on him by the enchantress and brings him back to life, restoring him back to his male form. And both the prince and Belle, along with the staff of the mansion – back in human form again – live happily ever after.
While the live-action Beauty and the Beast movie is a delightful musical with an infectious, sing-a-along soundtrack that is sure to entertain all ages, it is also a great reminder of the very important lesson for us all to live our truth. Forget status quo. Like Belle in the movie, don’t be afraid to be true to yourself and pursue your own happiness. So, let us all go forth and dare to be different from everyone else, especially if being different and doing things differently makes us happy.