Friday, March 31, 2017

Bogus boycott of B&B

Say the word "boycott" and many of us Christians immediately perk up. There's something about
rallying behind what has been perceived as a sinful abomination against biblical principles that can sometimes bring out the worst in us...ME INCLUDED.

As a fan of the original Beauty and the Beast (B&B) movie I was initially excited for my children to enjoy this timeless classic as I had in its animated form in the early 90s. But my hopes were quickly dashed against the sharp rocks of liberalism as word of an intertwined "gay agenda" surfaced.  The director, Bill Condon, was quoted as intending to promote and recreate the character "LeFou" (French for "the fool") as homosexual.  A myriad of other quotes were posted including the idea that the film was a metaphor for AIDS. The latter turns out to be false and was an idea taken more from the story of the animated version's executive producer and lyricist Howard Ashman who died of AIDS.  This was slander though since Ashman was diagnosed as HIV positive after the B&B production started and died of AIDS well after it was completed.

Still, the idea that the director would add a "gay scene" to this beloved classic sent many of us in a frenzied, blind boycott (blind being the key word).  More time was spent critiquing the intentions of the director and the supposed inserted scenes than actually watching the movie. Despite my initial protests I decided that I would give the movie a chance so we took our entire family for an afternoon out.  I had heard a few reviews beforehand but was still prepared to wash my children clean of the attempted worldly indoctrination. What I witnessed was worse than I feared...I was revealed to be an overreacting fool!

We sat fully engaged in one of the most enthralling films I have seen in a long time. The cinematography was excellent as the backdrop of Belle's character was opened for the audience.  The development of her character as well as Gaston, the Beast, and the rest of the case was truly artistic.  The few liberties the writers took actually filled in a lot of questions the cartoon adaptation left open.  Belle's missing mother was explained, the Beast's missing family and upbringing were revealed, the tie between the servants turned enchanted objects in the castle were revealed, and even the reason why no one in the nearby village remembered the former prince of their realm was beautifully explained.

The most intriguing point of the film was the redefining of Belle's father who previously was the inventor of the family. In this production he was a protective father and artist. The reasoning for this was revealed as Belle's history unfolded. She, her father, and mother lived in Paris (where else would a French artist live) when at a very young age her mother contracted the plague. At her mother's plea to save Belle's life her father swept her up and fled to the country to prevent her from becoming ill as well. Belle was raised in a protective home but a nurturing one which instilled creativity and compassion by a loving father.

LaFou's character development should have accompanied a name change as who he was in the conclusion of the film was not the same character of the animated screen. He had instead realized the folly of blindly following Gaston and fought alongside the castle servants at the climax of the film precipitated by a brief admission of guilt to the teakettle Mrs. Potts.

But what of the "gay scene"? wasn't there.  I know some will say that the scene in which LaFou is seen dancing with another man or the scene where one of the castle assailants readily accepts his redresseing by the enchanted wardrobe as a woman would be the crux of the protest, I would heartily disagree.  The supposed cross-dressing man lasted about 2 seconds and LaFou's dance was less than that.  But what about the director's intention to promote the gay agenda?  If this is true then he failed miserably.  The only thing he may have accomplished was to rally some of us Christians behind a baseless, fruitless boycott which showed just how easily swayed we can be.

I have absolutely no negative artistic critiques against this movie.  It is one of the few that I can fully give 5 stars to without reservation.  There were numerous redemptive qualities revealed in the Beast, Belle, the castle servants, and even LeFou.  No, I'm not going to allegorize the movie into a Bible study so don't even try to do so yourself.

Go see the movie, don't see the movie...whatever you decide please ensure that it is not because of the overinflated boycott against it pushed by misinformed brothers in Christ like me.

In service of the reigning King,

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