The Dragon and the Freckled Princess
- Mamoru Hosoda
- Kaho Nakamura
Belle is the 6th film by director Mamoru Hosoda and is loosely inspired by The Beauty and the Beast. If you feel like you already know the story, fear not, it is vastly different from the original fairy tale.
Now what are the premises? The meek Suzu has been unable to sing since a tragic event. But when she joined the virtual world of U, she finds her voice back and becomes the most famous singer of the platform, Belle. There, she meets The Beast.
The film tackles the difficult subjects of grief and abuse but also teenagers’ awkward first love and standing up for yourself and others. One can argue that the movie is too simple when it comes to solving real-world problems but on the other hand it fits the overall soft and positive atmosphere.
Another important theme is the Internet, presented through the virtual world U. While Mamoru Hosoda acknowledges issues such as cyber bullying, the world of U is a positive depiction of the Internet. It connects people and encourages them to care for others. Similarly, it is also where Belle first finds the courage to build her confidence back up.
Visually, it is a feast for the eyes. The world of U is vibrant with colours, the design of Belle and the Beast is stunning, and the animation is smooth. It is definitely worth it to see it on a big screen!
The songs included in Belle are absolutely beautiful. You do not even need to read the subtitles to appreciate them. Belle’s voice actor, Kaho Nakamura, did an amazing job and if you want to check one of the movie songs, I invite you to search for Gales of sound.
If you are familiar with Hosoda’s works you might find some similarities especially with Summer Wars. For example, both movies have half of their actions happening in a colourful virtual world while the other half is more of a family and friends' drama. However, it would be a mistake to think that if you have seen one no need to see the other. Both have their own plot and I encourage you to check them out.
Next time you want to go to the cinema but don’t know what to see, don’t forget about beautiful Belle!