BEAUTY AND THE BEAST: Compassion and Sympathy | FCC 143

In Disney’s 2017 live-action remake of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, Belle (played by Emma Watson) shows compassion on the Beast (played by Dan Stevens) which saves and restores him and his castle in the end. Join us as we discuss these Christian themes and so much more on the Finding Christ In Cinema podcast.

For your convenience you will find each podcast segment at the time referenced below:

  • 00:00:00 – Introduction and Previous Episode Recap 
  • 00:04:17 – Movie Discussion
  • 00:27:58 – Listener Feedback
  • 00:34:39 – Christian Themes in BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (2017)
  • 00:59:45 – Upcoming

Beauty and the Beast with Compassion and Sympathy

It’s a powerful moment when Belle intercedes on her father Maurice’s behalf and takes his place as the Beast’s prisoner. It sparks something within the Beast, and that spark ignites the engine that drives the story forward. It’s the first expression of compassion that the Beast has seen in a while if he’s ever seen one at all.

After all, the Beast was a man, and a very selfish and arrogant one at that. Such qualities do not lend themselves to a compassionate heart, so it only makes sense that this strange and new phenomenon of sympathy shocks him like it does. It ultimately opens the door for Belle to shine a light into the Beast that transforms him and his castle for the better.

Even in the beginning of their coerced relationship, Belle and the Beast have a lot in common. Both are seen as peculiar by their communities, and both are linked to certain kind of exile (Belle in her books and the Beast in his castle). On a deeper level, both of them lost their mother while they were children, so both grew up with only fathers.

The main difference here, though, is that Belle’s father raised her with love while the Beast’s father twisted him into an insensible monster. Despite that difference, however, the two of them seem linked together by forces outside of themselves, and their meeting is somewhat more than fortuitous.


This image from BEAUTY AND THE BEAST shows Emma Watson as Belle and Kevin Kline as Maurice.

That spark of compassion is what propels the Beast to save Belle from the wolves. He, of course, gets hurt in the process, and Belle is more than willing to care for him. Such behavior is already a part of her nature thanks to her father. As the film goes on and Belle and the Beast get closer, he starts letting his compassionate side change his behavior and decisions.

He is so changed that he gives her a very special gift: a chance to go anywhere in the world. Although they can’t really go “anywhere” (it’s only a tantalizing illusion provided by the same enchantress that cursed the Beast in the first place), they can be there in their minds’ eyes. Belle chooses to go to her birthplace – a windmill apartment in Paris – to find out what really happened to her mother.

After the truth is revealed – that Belle’s mother died of the plague – the Beast is all the more sympathetic to her and her father. Where he once hated Maurice for trying to steal a rose from his garden, the Beast can no longer do so. And after holding Belle captive for so long, he sets her free.

The Beast’s choice to give Belle her freedom is a strong climax upon which to hinge the film’s controlling theme. From this point on, no matter what happens, we know that the Beast will be content in his condition. Think not of Gaston’s mob destroying the castle and even Gaston himself delivering a fatal blow to the Beast; such is only the falling action – the denouement that results from the climax.

The kind of compassion that exists between Belle and the Beast, then, is the pinnacle of the film, and it’s from this moment that we can distill the clearest picture the healing and transforming properties of compassion.

Key Texts for Beauty and the Beast

Let these passages be your guide as you watch BEAUTY AND THE BEAST with your friends and loved ones.

Hosea 6:6 YLT

For kindness I desired, and not sacrifice, And a knowledge of God above burnt-offerings.

Philippians 2:5 NKJV

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.

Finding Christ In Cinema is the show where we discover Christian themes in movies past and present. Join us and together we’ll dig deeper into the silver-screen classics of yesteryear as well as the box-office hits of today. Brought to you by the Great Commission Transmission Network. View the complete show notes – including links to articles discussed – by clicking here.

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About Brenden Taylor

Brenden is an educational assistant and tutor by day and a theatre practitioner by night. He has his M.A. in Theatre Arts and is always looking for a good way to use stories to soften peoples' hearts. Find him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter @LeviTheBeliever.
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