We've tackled Jasmine and Ariel but if there were ever a Disney Princess that needed an intervention, it would be Belle. When I watched this film as an adult, what stood out to me weren't the adorable songs ("Be Our Guest" is off the hook) or her ridiculously large, ill-fitting yellow dress; it was that her situation is extremely tragic.
Allow me to summarize. Smart young French girl lives in a "provincial" village where she seems to be the only literate citizen. Girl's father is emotionally unavailable and seems to be a bit A Beautiful Mind if you ask me. Due to unforeseen circumstances, girl finds herself being held against her will by the town's beast. She works through her fear of being eaten or mauled by her captor, develops a classic case of Stockholm syndrome which in her eyes turns the beast into a sexy prince.
2011 version: 18-year-old girl with a library card and too much free time feels like she's better than everyone around her. After months of emo-ing out to My Chemical Romance and chatting with random men on AIM, she decided to meet up with a lovely gentlemen from Riverside, California who lives in an impressive McMansion. Turns out that her To Catch a Predator candidate isn't really a 28-year-old Starbuck's manager with a BMW. He's a 45-year-old two-time felon with abusive tendencies and a fondness for domestic beer. After a few months of being kept prisoner in his home (he does, however, provide pretty Forever 21 dresses), girl starts to have feelings for her "boyfriend" and he feels comfortable enough to remove her ankle restraint.
I'm no conspiracy theorist, but I'm 100% convinced that Disney gathers plot ideas from ex-cons.
What if Belle had a mother? Let's explore.
If The Disney Princesses Had Mothers: Belle
Bell's mother knocks on the massive oak door of the Beasts' mansion. She hears footsteps skipping to the door. It opens.
Belle smiles brightly. "Hi mom! What are you doing here?"
"Are you serious? You've been kidnapped." Bell's mom pushes her way past her daughter and scans the foyer. "Where's the bastard?" She cocks her shotgun.
"NO MOM! What are you doing!!" Belle pushes the gun down, tears streaming down her face. "The Beast is taking his afternoon nap! Why don't you join us for dinner? We're having a nice Chianti, fava beans and I don't know what else."
Belle's mother begins stealthily making her way up the winding staircase with Belle stumbling after her.
"Mom, I haven't been kidnapped! We're in love, he loves me."
Belle's mother turns around and lowers her gun. "You were snatched up and you've been drugged. Stand down."
"Mom, please sit." Belle tries to catch her breath as she lowers herself on a marble step.
Suddenly worried about the physical state of her daughter, Belle's mother sits beside her.
"We need to act fast if we're going to get you out of here."
Belle takes her mom's hand. "You don't understand. No, I didn't want to be here in the beginning, I saw him as the beast that the whole village does but my love has changed him. It's like Rhianna always says-"
"Don't you dare finish that sentence. This is not a relationship."
"You don't know us. Maybe that's what happens when a tornado meets a volcano-"
"Please stop talking..."
"What I'm trying to say is that he was only a beast because this witch before me made him that way. Living here as his prisoner has allowed me to see the real prince beneath his claws, abnormally large canines, and horrifying temperament..."
"When we get home you're going to Tyra Banks' camp for girls with low self-esteem."
"I do love camp," Belle takes a deep breath, preparing for a song, but her mother puts a finger over her lips. "What will happen to the Beast?"
"Your father and I are taking him out to the country... to a farm where he can run free with other beasts. He'll Skype you every night."
Belle stands and twirls on the steps. "That sounds WONDERFUL!"
Belle's mother continues her ascent up the steps. "Now let me just go tell him. You wait for me on the horse with your hands over your ears."
Belle hugs her mother and sighs deeply. "I can't wait to get my highlights redone." She runs out the door, stopping briefly to kiss a pot, pan, and clock. Her mother shakes her head and grows cold with fury.
Belle was singing so loudly outside that she didn't hear the gunshot. After a few months at Camp Tyra she climbed the ranks quickly and is now a lead supervisor. Belle's mother is an occasional guest on The Oprah Winfrey show.