Years later, as the rose is nearing its last year, a young girl named Belle is dealing with having to live in a closed-minded and provincial little town where her strong-willed nature and intelligence are seen as odd. Her father, a batty inventor, goes to have an invention evaluated at a fair and gets lost on the way. He seeks shelter at the Beast's castle and is thrown in the dungeon. When Belle discovers this, she goes to the castle and agrees to stay captive in his place. It is from this that their relationship begins to take shape and the Beast realizes that she is his last chance for salvation from the curse.
Yeah, I know. I talked only about the serious parts and left out the songs and the comedy, but really...when you think about it, the story is really serious. I suppose that makes the spectacular musical numbers and comedy even better, because you need the lightness to off-set the dark and serious. Of strong note are the characters of Lumiere and Cogsworth, voiced by Jerry Orbach and David Ogden Stires respectively. They form a perfect 'odd couple' relationship that becomes something you want there to be more of...so that means there's a perfect amount. There also isn't a forgettable song in the bunch. The title song, Belle, Be Our Guest, and even the added Human Again (special edition version) stick with you for days and express the longing of the characters to want exactly what it is they expect from life. In many ways, the film is about longing and finding the right pieces to fill what's missing in your own life. I think that's why I always cry, because it makes you believe that everything works out for a reason and that everyone will have a happy ending. Also, its comforting to know that there is someone who can see past our surface flaws and see the beauty underneath. There's a reason this was the first animated film to be nominated for Best Picture (all hype aside) and it is something that everyone should own.