I saw Beauty and the Beast and I’ll say this as quickly as possible – I didn’t like it all that much. Then, I went back and saw the original animated movie. And I’ll say it again, very quickly – I didn’t like that so much, too. So, I finally decided that this fairy tale isn’t for me.
To be fair, while watching the new version, I had to constantly remind myself that it is a fairy tale and I must adhere to being the kind of audience that signs up for watching a fairy tale. I felt a little sad that I couldn’t believe in the wondrous fairy dust stuff it was supposed to be about. The watering down of the storyline to make it suitable to current audiences bothered me a bit. The chauvinism in the original one bothered me a little more, and I guess the only thing left to be said is that I’m far too gone for fairy tales.
Which I don’t think I’m very happy about.
(A sentence should not start with “which”, I know.)
I don’t watch Grey’s Anatomy anymore, but here’s a dialogue from the show that I love:
“This is not general surgery on a miniature scale. These are the tiny humans. These are children. They believe in magic. They play pretend. There is fairy dust in their IV bags. They hope, and they cross their fingers, and they make wishes, and that makes them more resilient than adults. They recover faster, survive worse. They believe.” – Arizona Robbins
This sums up pretty much everything I think about why I feel at a sense of loss for not liking Beauty and the Beast. Of course one can do an analysis of what could have been done better in this version. Perhaps a reconstruction. But the point is, as a child this would have been so fascinating to me. As a child, I would have believed. As an adult, I’m very bothered about how they fell in love over one book. Seriously? (Now that I think about it, I don’t recall if I saw this movie as a child.)
I was talking to a frolleague the other day about her daughter’s books and I asked her if she had a stand on exposing her daughter to the fairy tales we read as children. She said she was okay with it. And I quote, “We read it and we turned out fine. So it’s okay, I guess.”
While I agree that women have to do away with the idea of a prince charming coming to rescue us, I think that fairy tales are important. This fixation with reality and constantly arming ourselves to combat disappointment is all a bit too much. I find that constant lamenting of the state of the world and the existentialism of life is tedious. This is one of the reasons why I decided that existentialist literature isn’t for me, no matter how accurately it sums up the travails of human existence. No matter that Camus was a genius or Dostoevsky must be read. Thank you very much, I am better off deprived. It seems to me that existentialist literature has given up before it has even begun. Do you remember that bit about Gregor Samsa waking up one morning and turning into a giant insect? Nothing about the beginning said it was going to get better from there. (Spoiler alert: It didn’t get better.)
While it’s normal and I would be lying if I say I don’t get tired of living some days, I find that we must leave some space in our lives where we don’t know everything. A space where all the possibilities are not known to us. That we have unresolved things inside us and unexplained wonders outside us. That in this space of not knowing we place our faith and give it room to freely move; and while it does, we protect it. We guard the parts of us that do not know, and we revel in not knowing. And as we do, we trust in the magic of the universe.
It’s rather dispiriting to be adults who cannot believe in magic, in the unknown, and not have faith. It’s just so blah to know how the magic on the stage is done. I’m alright with it being an illusion. For a while, let it be.
Just let it be.