Yep, it’s a classic.
In fact, this was one of the few Disney cartoons ever nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture. I say “nominated” because it actually lost to The Silence of the Lambs. The logic behind this outcome makes perfect sense: Why be uplifted and inspired by a wholesome family fairytale when we can be scarred for life by Anthony Hopkins?
You know, I recently learned that this film almost ended up with an entirely different cast. Patrick Stewart turned down the role of Cogsworth (the clock) and Julie Andrews was considered for Mrs. Potts. Donny Osmond and Patrick Swayze were considered for Gaston. For the Beast, Disney was considering Val Kilmer and I read that Regis Philbin even auditioned for the Beast. (Oh, the joy that would fill my soul if I could watch the Regis version…I’m sure we’d all walk away from this film feeling like a million bucks.)
Also, I can’t remember who pointed this out to me, but it’s interesting how many Disney villains die by falling from high places like Gaston. But hey, not everyone can be horrifically torn apart by a pack of vengeful hyenas while surrounded by the fires of hell.
OH, SOMETHING YOU SHOULD KNOW: According to the Broadway musical version, the Beast’s real name is Prince Adam. That’s right, we share the same name. I’m sure there are other similarities, too, including but not limited to my personal radiance of royal dignity and my intimidatingly rugged physique. Plus I have hairy legs.
This story has lasted for centuries because it’s about looking past the ugliness on the surface to see the real beauty underneath.
Those like Belle who have the compassionate patience to get to know those who may look or act a little different, even repulsive, are those who will be able to see people as Jesus sees them.
The fact is, we all do a lot of beastly things. Sometimes we’re rude. Sometimes we’re selfish. Sometimes we lose our tempers and yell at household objects who we think are talking to us (I once had a heated argument with a lawn mower.)
And sometimes we engage in more serious sins, eventually going so far we wonder if it’s even worth trying to go back. At that point, it becomes all too easy to look in the mirror and wish we were someone else.
But it doesn’t matter if we were predisposed to sinful behaviors or if we gradually slipped into them on our own — what matters is how long we’re willing to wait before we let our spirit take control.
We have a choice to end the pain, and only repentance can heal what hurts.
Repentance starts with our hearts. We must humbly call upon God with a broken heart before we can replace our disposition to do evil with doing good continually. Then, after we have done all we can to confess, repair and forsake our mistake, we can move forward with the peace and promise of forgiveness, knowing that the past is to be learned from but not lived in.
As we seek this mighty change of heart we will receive God’s image in our countenance, and when we look at ourselves in the mirror it should no longer be difficult to see the beauty within the beast.
“The Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outwardappearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7