Emma Watson as Belle is a vision of loveliness, that cannot be marveled over enough. True, Emma’s edition of Belle is so different from the one in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (1991) – imagine: Emma’s Belle wears boots instead of refined shoes, dons a worn outfit, paired with a crinkled blouse in the outsides, and is even a resourceful woman, who’s also a maker and a teacher, but the there is no denying Belle’s magic, and part of that reason is how brilliantly Emma portrayed the character onscreen.Embed from Getty Images
The role actually demanded a musical side of Emma to be revealed onscreen and that also for the very first time, which seems more challenging than Emma’s background in music will let on. Watson had not only spent her childhood singing songs from the 1991 Disney classic, she had also previously learnt singing (along with acting and dancing) at the UK-based part-time theatre arts school, Stagecoach Theatre Arts, in Oxford. Probably for that, Emma could do away with spending limited time separately learning the ropes of the music for the live action remake of the fairy tale, as well. Emma thinks the songs in the film are dreamlike; she’s also done five songs for the soundtrack to Beauty and the Beast.
One other fact that makes Emma’s Belle in Beauty and the Beast truly remarkable is how very different it is to one utterly ridiculous image of Belle, which has spread itself around for a long time now – that Belle must be in love with an abusive man (the Beast), as if she’s suffering from Stockholm syndrome, where a person’s character morphs into something really similar to that of the (abusive) captor and feelings of passion get borne.
Reasons why this theory has been around for such a long time is that Belle often displays anger towards the Beast and even has rows with him. But Emma (impressively) feels that that train of thought is incorrect because Belle is also an independent woman, who actually has her individual disposition and only changes her mind about Beast and develops a caring attitude towards him, when Beast manages to showcase both civility and goodwill.
It’s really such a shocking idea bouncing off a character like Belle, who Emma also perceives as sweet and a feminist of sorts. Emma’s portrayal of Belle actually reveals a woman who is ardently looking for an adventure – in her own unique way, Emma really did do absolute justice to the classic heroine of Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont’s fairy tale.