Australian Council on Children and the Media

Beauty and the Beast

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Not recommended under 8, parental guidance recommended 8-12 due to violence and scary scenes.

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Beauty and the Beast
  • a review of Beauty and the Beast completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 30 March 2017.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not recommended due to violence and scary scenes
Children 8 to 12 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and scary scenes
Viewers aged 12 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Beauty and the Beast
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes and violence
Length 129 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Belle (Emma Watson) is an intelligent and determined girl who lives in a small French provincial village and dreams of bigger things. One day her father (Kevin Kline) doesn’t return home from the market and Belle goes out in search of him, discovering an enchanted castle with magical servants. The tormented Beast (Dan Stevens), who is actually the prince who owns the castle, imprisons Belle in exchange for her father’s freedom.

Belle’s father pleads to Gaston (Luke Evans), the vain and sexist town hero, and his sidekick LeFou (Josh Gad) to help him rescue Belle, but Gaston has other plans. Meanwhile, the Beast’s servants try to show Belle the true nature of the Beast, and she begins to see him differently.    

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Death of a parent/serious illness; separation from a parent; magical transformations; sexism

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • Belle gets frightened and hits Lumiere with a chair
  • The Beast locks Belle and her father in a dungeon.
  • In a bar scene, Gaston throws a knife at a painting, shoots a gun and has a dance style sword fight with his friends.
  • Gaston punches Belle’s father in the face and knocks him out. He ties him to a tree and leaves him to be eaten by the wolves.
  • Gaston lies to the villagers and tells them that Belle’s father is crazy and they should lock him up. Gaston also locks Belle away when she tries to save her father.
  • The villagers (led by Gaston) form a mob to kill the Beast. They gather torches, pitchforks and other weapons with the intent to kill/harm the Beast. The villagers and the servants have a battle at the castle.
  • Gaston shoots the Beast with a gun and the Beast dies (but the witch brings him back to life). Gaston then falls from a tower and also dies.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • The castle and the surrounding forest are dark and scary. Both Belle and her father are attacked by wolves in the forest and these scenes are quiet confronting and scary. When the wolves are attacking Belle, the Beast is injured trying to save her. 
  • At the beginning of the film the Beast is scary. He has a short temper, loudly roars and gets angry with Belle.
  • The Beast’s transformation from a prince may be scary for young children.
  • Towards the end of the film, when the final rose petal falls and the Beast dies, the servants slowly turn into inanimate objects. These scenes are very sad and emotional. But eventually they are saved and returned to their human form.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • Gaston points to a woman begging for food and suggests that this is what happens when your parents die and you are unmarried.
  • Belle and the Beast have both lost their mothers. They are grieving in different ways. The discussion of dead parents may be difficult for some viewers.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Some children in this age group may be scared by some of the above-mentioned scenes

 

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

Nothing in the film, but plenty of tie-in merchandise

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Gaston flirts and makes sexual advances at many women in the film
  • LeFou jokingly flirts with Gaston
  • The wardrobe clothes three men in dresses - one of them looks happy and winks jokingly. Later in the film the same man and LeFou dance together.
  • Lumiere and Plumette flirt frequently throughout the film  

Nudity and sexual activity

Several characters kiss

Use of substances

Villagers drink at the tavern

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • idiot; fool; crazy; shut up; hag

In a nutshell

Beauty and the Beast is a beautiful and heart-warming remake of the original animated musical. Belle is a wonderful role model to teach children about kindness, intelligence and being strong and independent. Due to the violent and scary scenes, the film is more intense than Disney’s previous animated film, and is not recommended for children under the age of 8 and parental guidance is recommended for children up to 12.

The main messages from this movie are not to judge people by what is on the surface, and the importance of kindness and compassion. However, some parents may be concerned about the suggestion that women can ‘fix’ men who are scary and dangerous.

Parents may also wish to discuss the way in which Gaston treats Belle and other women, and ways of dealing with grief after the death of a loved one (such as Belle’s mother).

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