Re-tellings always seem to be a popular choice of filmmakers. This indie version of Beauty and the Beast (2015) might not be anything special, but it’s worth a second look if you enjoy a good fairy tale.
Beauty and the Beast (2015) Miniseries Review
Hardship isn’t something Bella (Blanca Suárez) is familiar with. As the youngest, she’s been sheltered. But her family is experiencing this now. Her father is in debt to the Prince Leon (Alessandro Preziosi) and her sister has no advantageous match in her future. Hoping to spare the father adores the pain of giving up his livelihood, his ship, she presents herself to the Prince as a servant willing to work off the debt.
Haunted by a dark past, the Prince is a cruel man who bears the scars of this tragedy. Accepting Bella’s proposal, the Prince takes an interest in her, but what she doesn’t know is, his motive is anything but genuine…
Made famous by the 90s Disney version, Beauty and the Beast has seen multiple reincarnations. Though not a personal favorite, anyone who likes fairy tales may enjoy this. Originally filmed as an Italian series (but said to be in English), I can’t tell if any or all of the dialogue is dubbed which is unusual. But if any is, it’s the sign of good editing. The styling and costume design don’t always look authentic, but it’s not so distracting so as to take away from the production’s story.
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The cast is pretty solid, only with one caveat. I can’t say that this Beast’s story evokes any kind of sympathy. I feel very little for the character to be honest; not sure what Bella even sees in him. Their connection is more toxic than it is one of a girl showing a lost man how to live and love again. That said, I still wind up rooting for a happy end (because, it is a fairy tale), for Bella; one in which Leon seeks change. Because, after all, isn’t this what we all want from a good redemption story?
All of the recognizable aspects of this fable are here. From the top which is a Prince’s heartbreak to a ballroom scene with beautiful dancing, and even prettier finery. (The costuming is sometimes pretty, and other times, gaudy.) As the story progresses, we see cracks in the characters as they see change in their circumstances, and allow it to melt and shift their heart and life. What this version does opt out of is a sense of magic. There aren’t spells or witches, and instead the evil is rooted in schemes.
Though change has to come from within, I am a firm believer that a person can inspire someone to change. That’s what this story does. It looks within, and while I don’t see the change in our antagonist that I’d like, the more we learn, the more you “know” why he is who he is. The script suffers from an inflated sense of drama and “grand speeches,” however, this has plenty of reflections of the brooding of Jane Eyre to keep us entertained.
One of those “unknown” indie-like 2-part productions, I must admit, overall, I did enjoy this. Will I re-watch it? Perhaps not (or maybe so), but it’s also not an unpleasant way to spend three hours. There’s flaws in the storytelling, and because of this I can see some will struggle with the love story, but the heart of this tale beats beneath the blunders. It’s this that makes me glad to have discovered this because it’s like a bit of nostalgia.
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Content: There is some content in this one including implications of sex; a man sleeps around, and bets he can bed another. One scene implies thoughts of rape or it appears close to this.
Photos: Lux Vide