Yesterday my eighteen-year-old daughter and I were privileged to see Disney’s Beauty and the Beast in the new live action format for 2017.
Overall, the Disney retelling of the classic story of love between Belle and the Prince was magical. The original is one of my favorites so I was pleased to see that the new live action version stuck very closely to the original with only a few slight twists from the animated movie I know and love. Sadly one of those twists was in the addition of overtly homosexual content sprinkled throughout the movie’s subplot, as I’ve described below.
The cast choices for Belle, the Beast, and the animated characters who become human again in the end were delightful. One of my favorites was Maurice (Belle’s Father) and of course I loved the actress who played Belle. Even the choice of character for Gaston was spot on.
This movie is currently causing quite a stir in the news and online in social media because of the leaked comment from the director, Condon, who mentioned an “exclusively gay moment” in the movie. Everyone who knows I’ve seen the movie already is now asking me the question – what exactly does that mean? What is this exclusively gay moment everyone is talking about? If you don’t want to know ahead of time, stop reading here.
Here are my observations about the sexual content in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.
Disney’s Exclusively Gay Moment
1) Le Fou (Gaston’s sidekick) is clearly gay and clearly infatuated with Gaston much more obviously than any gay character has appeared in any other Disney movie. Unlike in Finding Dory, the homosexual content in this movie will not be missed.
2) Le Fou starts giving Gaston a hand / shoulder / ear massage during the Gaston song that is definitely sensual from Le Fou’s perspective. EDITED TO ADD: This song also includes a moment where La Fou briefly sits on Gaston’s lap, leans in, puts Gaston’s arms around him and then says “Too much?” Gaston is perturbed.
3) At one point toward the end, Gaston gets very close to Le Fou’s face; they are face to face and it looks like a romantic angle but Gaston is actually angry and yelling. It draws a direct contrast between what Le Fou wants and the fact that Gaston has really just been using his devotion all along. EDITED TO ADD: I’ve been struggling all week with wondering why I put this into my review and why it bothered me or was even noticeable to me. I think it is because this is the point at which I thought the rumored kiss was going to happen. It didn’t. So this point in the movie is really a non-issue but if you see that close up image of their faces – don’t worry. They don’t actually kiss or anything.
4) In the final dance scene, Le Fou is dancing with a woman but at the very end he cuts in on another couple and dances with a man. It was made to appear as a fortuitous accident. What I did not realize until later was that this is the same man who earlier “enjoys” wearing the woman’s dress. (explained below under other sexual content.) EDITED TO ADD: I’ve seen various reviews stating that this was two seconds long and others stating it was four seconds long. Either way — this is the exclusively gay moment Condon was referring to. It was not insignificant.
5) Because the audience was expecting the homosexual element, there was a lot of giggling and awareness or expectancy among the audience in the theater about Le Fou’s obvious crush on Gaston. If you have little children, this is just going to serve to draw even more attention and questions in their minds.
6) There are several verbal innuendoes of a homosexual nature that grown-up audience members are likely to notice – a lot like many of the punch lines and references Disney has put into kids movies in the past, presumably so that adults can enjoy the movie too. I didn’t notice these myself, but afterwards when I reviewed my post with my daughter she said “Mom, you have to mention the verbal innuendoes.” So they are in there. I did notice, a few times, scattered laughter from the audience after the fact where I had clearly missed something.
Other Sexual Content in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast
1) In the final battle scene, three men are attacked by the wardrobe (Madame Garderobe, a female) and dressed as women. Two of the men run off in horror and terror but the third decides he likes it and runs off happy as Madame Garderobe (the wardrobe) sings, “Be free.”
2) At the end, Belle falls in love with the Beast while he is still the beast, but does not kiss him until he has been transformed back into a human. They are seen kissing and later dance together.
Unlike its animated predecessor, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast in live action format is rated PG for Parental Guidance recommended. If you are concerned about the inclusion of gay sexuality and the subtle display of lust in this movie yet still plan to attend, you will definitely want to have a guided conversation with your kids either before or after you view this film as a family. I do not plan to see the movie in the theater with any more of my children (my 18 year old attended with me and a fabulous conversation afterward) and will rent it to watch with my husband a second time to verify my first impressions before we decide whether or not to purchase it for our family to watch at home.