Belle is the female protagonist of Disney's 1991 animated feature film, Beauty and the Beast. She is a very intelligent and undeniably beautiful young woman who lives in a decent cottage with her widowed father in a small French village. Being an outcast due to her love and interest in books, Belle longs to break free from the community who ridicule her and experience a life of adventure. When her father is held prisoner by the Beast in his castle, Belle takes her father's place and begins to develop a romantic relationship with the Beast which is vital for him to break the spell.
Why She Rocks
- She is not only the smartest and the most intelligent of the Disney Princesses, but she is one of the most iconic and memorable Disney characters.
- She has a great and interesting personality, which is shown from the villagers' views about her during the song "Belle".
- Her character design is remarkably well-drawn and beautiful, hence her name Belle which is a literal French translation to "Beauty".
- She cares deeply for those around her, particularly her father Maurice. Belle defends him from the villagers who think that he is crazy and when Maurice is held prisoner by the Beast in the dungeons, Belle travels to the castle on Philippe and makes a noble and brave decision to take his place as a prisoner in the Beast's castle in exchange for him to release her father, knowing very well that she will lose her freedom and never see her father again.
- She has a love and interest in reading books, which explains why she is so smart and intelligent than Gaston or the villagers who ridicule her.
- While she is considered to be very beautiful, Belle is also willing to find the inner beauty from inside other people, which she does find from inside the Beast.
- She has a subtle and interesting character development as she learns that there is more to the Beast's inner heart and beauty than what she sees on the outside. Once she starts treating him as a normal person and not as a monster, her kindness towards him convinces him to change his behaviour and turn into a kinder and a much better person.
- Even though she is a damsel in distress which is quite evident when she is attacked by the vicious wolves in the Black Forest, Belle isn't afraid to stand up for herself and puts her foot down on occasions. A good example of Belle showing her stern side is while tending to the Beast's wounds after he saved her and during a brief argument about her disobeying his order of not to go into the forbidden West Wing, she rightfully tells him off for his bad temper.
- Paige O'Hara did a wonderful performance of voicing Belle and providing her amazing and beautiful singing voice.
The Only Bad Quality
- She got flanderized badly in three cases:
- Her 2015 live-action counterpart in Descendants lacks the charm and the personality of her character in the animated film. She is against the idea of welcoming the children of villains to Auradon as she is understandably worried, even though she is supportive of her son's endeavours, and doesn't come to their aid later on. Belle's point from the animated film is finding beauty from the inside of people. If that was found on the outside, she might as well allow Gaston to marry her or join the villagers.
- She was flanderized in Belle's Magical World where she went from a fun-loving action girl that she was in the original film to a generic dumb housewife as she is shown to be incredibly whiny and passive, as well as often blaming herself whenever something goes wrong.
- The opposite case however happens to her live-action counterpart in the 2017 live-action remake, where she has been drastically changed from a fun-loving, quirky action girl into an overly-defensive and arrogant snob who rarely ever smiles, all because of shoehorned "female empowerment" on the part of her actress Emma Watson. In addition, her live-action counterpart's singing voice is notably inferior to that of her animated counterpart, and her romantic chemistry with the Beast is horrendous unlike the animated film due to her constantly putting up with the Beast's negative behavior throughout the second half of the film after his servants told her about the reason behind the Beast's cruel nature despite her doing the exact opposite to him throughout the first half of said film, not helping the fact is in the live-action remake the two rarely spent time together and the Beast treated her much worse than he did in the animated film.
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