Why Disney Decided To Tell The Tale Of Belle’s Mother In ‘Beauty And The Beast’

Emma Watson and Luke Evans in a scene from Beauty and the Beast live action movie.

Disney stayed faithful to Beauty and the Beast’s tale as old as time, but the studio decided to incorporate a notable back story of Belle’s mother for a significant reason. In the live-action remake, the maternal character was mentioned and even shown.

In the film’s early part, Maurice is seen tinkering with a music box he created himself. The curio features a seemingly happy couple with their newborn child. Belle enters the house and rants to her father about how the villagers mock her for being odd.

“My dear Belle, you’re so ahead of your time. This is a small village, and it’s small-minded as well,” Maurice reassures the upset Belle. He refuses to talk further about what happened, but Belle’s cluelessness won’t last long because of the Beast’s gift.

Beauty and the Beast dance

The Beast shows Belle a magical book which was given by the enchantress who cursed him. Unlike any other books in his vast library, the enchanted book is able to take its “reader” to anywhere in the world by simply thinking of the place. He invites Belle to try it.

“The Paris of my childhood,” she answers in a heartbeat when asked where she wanted to be.

Belle and the Beast find themselves in her childhood home. She discovers a beak-shaped mask which the Beast says was a protection worn by doctors to treat patients affected by the plague.

Through a flashback, Belle sees her dying mother begging Maurice to leave her and take baby Belle to a far place. He refuses, but eventually obeys her final wish to keep Belle safe.

In the song “No Matter What,” which was used in the early versions of Beauty and the Beast, Maurice sings to Belle, “You are your mother’s daughter; therefore you are class…. creme de la crème.”

Beauty and the Beast director Bill Condon told The Hollywood Reporter that they needed to expand the story of Belle’s mother for a significant reason.

“Something that you have to do in a live-action version as opposed to the animated version is fill in the blanks. They’re both outsiders, but how did Belle wind up being so different from everybody else in a town where nobody understands her, and how did the Beast become the person who earned that curse? That’s the stuff we started to fill in, and it was those questions that led to the new songs — all of which center on those ideas.”

To make the scene more moving, Alan Menken and Tim Rice wrote the song, “How Does a Moment Last Forever.” Alan wanted the song to pay homage to Belle’s roots, that’s why “it goes into these very French harmonies.”

He similarly finds the song meaningful because Celine Dion sings her version for the end credits.

“I think that song has some extra meaning for her because we lost her husband Rene [last year]. They were such a devoted couple,” he said.

For those wondering why they selected plague as the reason for the death of Belle’s mother, producer David Hoberman told the website that they wanted a cause that truthfully reflected the period.

“The mom had to have died somehow. We went through many incarnations of ideas, but we also wanted to be truthful to the period. The plague seemed like a natural fit.”

Beauty and the Beast continues to lure filmgoers amid the headlines the film generated because of the “exclusively gay moment” featuring LeFou’s unrequited attraction to Gaston. Malaysia won’t approve the showing of the Beauty and the Beast unless some parts of the film, specifically the ones hinting homosexuality, will be removed.

I saw the live action beauty and the beast today and it was amazing an utter masterpiece, and having our first ever Disney lgbtq+ character was amazing!! I never thought back when I was younger that we'd be able to have this representation in a Disney film, Josh Gad did a great job portraying LeFou and the whole movie itself was magical, I'd definitely recommend it, and if you've seen it tell me your thoughts in the comments! #beautyandthebeast #gaston #lefou #gay #lgbt #lgbtq #lgbtqaplus #love #disney #greatjob

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Disney decided not to show the film there citing that Beauty and the Beast “has not been and will not be cut for Malaysia.” Russia reportedly considered following suit. Nonetheless, the controversy seemingly did not affect the film, as proven by its stellar opening earnings. The final opening weekend earnings will come out on Monday.

[Featured Image by Walt Disney]