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.
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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.
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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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You can find Beauty and the Beast (2015) on Amazon Prime (at time of publication) or on DVD.
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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
When I saw your subtitle for this post, I thought immediately of this adaptation, and low and behold I was right, haha ? I didn’t think anyone I knew had even heard of it, so it’s kind of exciting to find out not only had you, but that you’d also dedicated a review post to it as well!! I stumbled across it thanks to some clips that were posted on YouTube, and could not agree with your analysis more; while it’s not one of the better versions, the heart of the story and the romance is still there, and that’s primarily all that really counts!
You are indeed SO right, Kirsty. :)
So glad you too have seen it. I’m not sorry to have watched it and appreciated a lot about it – more so as I continue to think about it, but it misses a few things that I think lessens how good it COULD be. That said, I’d likely re-watch it again, so that means I’m certainly curious enough to analyze it some more. ;)
I was really excited when I discovered this version. I felt this one started out well, but the longer I watched, the more it deteriorated into outright cheesiness. It’s disappointing, because it had good potential. Particularly, with it’s focus on the Beast’s emotional disfigurement over his physical flaws.
Excellent point re: the beast’s emotional trauma. I do think this one has more a focus on that as his physical scars are “realistic” in comparison. But I also like that this entire piece eliminates magic, just for something different. I’m not sorry to have watched this, but I do wish there’d been some different approaches taken to certain elements, and I cannot help but feel this relationship is WAY more toxic than ANY other I’ve seen like this trope. But on reflection this may have more to do with the influence Leon was under vs. his actual character as a person.
There is a similar feeling version of Cinderella on Prime that I just finished. It is better done than Beauty and the Beast though. It’s a more modern telling set in 1950’s Rome. If you get a chance to watch it, I would love to hear your take on it.
Ooo! That sounds AMAZING, Brittaney! I’ll have to make time because I’m all for discovering new re-tellings. :)
I’ve never even heard of this version! I’m hoping it’s still on Amazon Prime because it’s going on my watch list!
Fun! Let me know if you saw it, and what you thought, Christine. :)
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I just finished watching this version of the movie and I love everything about it, the drama, the love, passion and lust. Everything about this movie is amazing and beautiful.
Glad you enjoyed this one! :)
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I fell in love with this version immediately. The scenery, the characters, the good and bad in each character were so revealing. The film quality and clarity and the depth of color were especially appealing. Every scene seemed to be created with special care to deliver full impact! I came away with a feeling of delightful satisfaction at the gorgeous way in which this was shown. This is the type of movie I seek – full and sensual eye candy with engaging emotional involvement. I cry “MORE PLEASE!”
I’d watch it again for sure. May not be my most favorite fairy tale version but it has its good moments for sure. :)