Beauty and the Beast: A Latter-Day Tale / Belle and the Beast: A Christian Romance (2007)

dir. B.J. Alexander, Brian Brough

We’ve had the sulky YA version of Beauty and the Beast, with Beastly. We’ve had the shiny rom-com version of Beauty and the Beast, with Beauty and the Briefcase. Now, we get the preachy Christian version of Beauty and the Beast, with Beauty and the Beast: A Latter-Day Tale. In this iteration, the titular Beast isn’t so much a beast, more than just some angry guy called Eric who wears ties at home and shouts a lot. After his handyman accidentally breaks a priceless vase (which constitutes but one hideous ornament in a colossal McMansion stuffed with hideous ornaments), Eric threatens to fire him. So the handyman’s daughter Belle steps in and offers her services as an assistant to placate him. Said services seem to primarily involve carrying post-its around, and handing Eric a towel as he awkwardly clambers out of his hot tub. There’s a bug-eyed rival for Belle’s affections hovering around, but he doesn’t do much. Belle’s little sister seems to have some sort of “rebellious schoolgirl” plot going on, but she doesn’t do much. Eric himself is supposed to be hiding a dark history of bereavement and alcoholism, but even he doesn’t do much. Most of the movie is the same scene over and over again: Eric yells, and Belle gets offended. They just move from room to room as they do it. Of course, by the end they’re hopelessly in love, and loudly affirming that faith in God conquers all. But a movie as weak, lazy, formulaic and emotionally barren as Beauty and the Beast: A Latter-Day Tale only helps to support the argument that there is no God at all.

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