Beauty and The Beast (La Belle et la bête)1946
Beauty and The Beast (La Belle et la bête) (1946)
Critic Consensus: With its magical optical effects and enchanting performances, Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast remains the most surreal -- and soulful -- of the fairy tale's film adaptations.
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Critic Reviews for Beauty and The Beast (La Belle et la bête)
What's mesmerising about Cocteau's film is the seriousness with which it regards the fairytale material, combined with an eerie, dreamlike production design that's more effective precisely because it's more real.
"Beauty and the Beast" remains a profound exploration of the human and animal worlds, light and darkness, and love and art.
Beauty is fragile. Magic is rare. And it's precisely the blessing of the cinema that it affords us such opportunities to indulge in fantasy.
If the first act of La Belle et la Bête showcases familial insecurity in all its ferociousness, the second part, which actually involves a monster, is amazingly peaceful, full of surrealist cinema tricks and haunting mise-en-scene.
Children, as well as adults, may find the atmosphere dangerously addictive.
Audience Reviews for Beauty and The Beast (La Belle et la bête)
An enchanting film that surprises us with its magical atmosphere and dazzling visual effects, even if the plot can be a bit repetitive and contrived when focusing on the development of the characters' relationship, leading to an end that is not as satisfying as it should be.
Fresh on the heels of WWll, Jean Cocteau's elegant fantasy is disguised as a treat for children perhaps but is more squarely aimed at adults and asks for a bit of a return to innocence after the terror of the war. Decidedly French (one oaf of a suitor slaps a woman and there is no response to the act), the film is slow for modern tastes, without CGI obviously, and yet it's languor is seductive, designed to draw us closer to the heart of a film that seeks to embrace us in its magic. And there's plenty of that on hand here.
La Belle et la Bête is poetry captured on film. The haunting effects of Bête's castle furnishings are alone worth the price of admission (or DVD rental). Visually, the entire picture is stunning. A beautiful work of art.
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