Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite “princess” movies, with a strong heroine who prefers books over boys–way before being a bookish girl-nerd-princess was cool. So, naturally, I am excited to take in the live-action version with my kids this weekend, especially with real-life feminist Emma Watson in the starring role. We would probably go to see it regardless of the reviews but, just in case you happen to be on the fence about going — and/or are wondering if this version is appropriate for your kids — here’s a sampling of what the critics have to say about the latest take on this classic story.
(UPDATE: I saw this movie over the weekend with my 7-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son. Although there are menacing, realistic-looking wolves and “upsetting moments” when Gaston — spoiler alert! — attacks and shoots the Beast, neither of my kids were frightened by it. In fact, I was the only one in my family covering my eyes. [Wimp that I am.] And we all thoroughly enjoyed the movie.)
Now for the reviews…
Watson is an ideal Belle in this wonderful remake that’s at once nostalgic and new, bringing to life the musical both for kids and life-long adult fans.
Although the movie will appeal to even very young viewers, especially those familiar with the original, the remake’s violent sequences can be very intense, with a few jump-worthy and upsetting moments (several involving snarling wolves, others guns) that leave characters bloodied, injured, and, in one case, dead.
Sandie Angulo Chen
Common Sense Media
It looks good, moves gracefully and leaves a clean and invigorating aftertaste. I almost didn’t recognize the flavor: I think the name for it is joy. Full review
A touching, eminently watchable, at times slightly awkward experience that justifies its existence yet never totally convinces you it’s a movie the world was waiting for. Full review
Fantastic but scarier remake of the “tale as old as time.” Full review
At every turn, the film seems to ask itself if what the original film did was enough, and answers with a definitive “no.” Full review
Those who predicted this wouldn’t hold a talking candle to the animated original will be pleasantly surprised. The tale may be as old as time, but it’s retold with freshness, brio and flair. Full review
Nick de Semlyen
Beauty and the Beast does right by its predecessor, delivering a musical experience that both dazzles the eyes and plucks the heartstrings. Full review
A rococo confection featuring fiendishly intricate production values, a bravura, coloratura-rich musical score and whizz-pop state-of-the-art effects, Disney’s latest iteration of the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast is more than just eye candy. It’s a Michelin-triple-starred master class in patisserie skills that transforms the cinematic equivalent of a sugar rush into a kind of crystal-meth-like narcotic high that lasts about two hours. Only once viewers have come down and digested it all might they feel like the whole experience was actually a little bland, lacking in depth and so effervescent as to be almost instantly forgettable. Full review
“A Michelin-triple-starred master class in patisserie skills”? Sounds like the movie will make us hungry, if nothing else.
Rating: PG for some action violence, peril and frightening images. Opens this Friday, March 17, 2017.