Most of us know the story of Beauty and the Beast by heart, but Gans’ version at starts with a different take: a narrator reciting the tale of a widow merchant (Andre Dussollier), father of six, whose riches were jeopardized by a shipwreck that forced him to move to the countryside. While his jeering older daughters (Audrey Lamy, Sara Giraudeau) ceaselessly complain about their dwindled status, the youngest and most innocent among them, Beauty (Léa Seydoux), is the only child her father can rely on — especially after he’s beholden to a strange Beast (Vincent Cassel) who lords over a nearby magical kingdom.

The newly adapted version originates from the tale by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont (the original text was penned in 1740 by French writer Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve).

The film is a visual treat. A veritable MASTERPIECE of costume, set design, photography and CGI. The script is an ingenious twist that mixes the beloved fairytale with other folkloric and mythological references.

It is obviously hard to re-do such a well known classic, and beat such predecessors such as Walt Disney, however Gans impressed and excelled all expectations and this was far one of favorite versions of the beloved tale.

A warning for those, who might be put off by dubbing or subtitles, the original film is presented in French, however I urge lovers of beauty and design to set aside any prejudice of needing to read. The production design and cinematography are breath-taking and Pierre-Yves Gayraud’s exquisite costumes steal the show.

By Penelope Brooke-Hamilton

Penelope Brooke-Hamilton

Penelope Brooke-Hamilton

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