You may have heard by now that Disney is releasing a live-action version of their animated classic "Beauty & The Beast", unless you live so deep in a dungeon that you aren't even aware of Disney.
You may also be aware of a certain controversial storyline in the film that focuses on the affection perennial best-friend-admirer-of-bad-boys La Fou has for the film's villain Gaston. You see, conservative types the world over are upset of the blatancy surrounding what has turned out to be Disney's first "official" gay character in film. I say "official" with quotes, because anyone who's ever seen the original animated masterpiece already knew that storyline. Why people seem surprised by this now certainly has me perplexed. Perhaps this is what we get in Trump's America. Don't even get me started on the fact that this argument implies everyone would've been fine with the murderous rampage the townspeople go on, or that they're totally fine with Belle falling in love with a water buffalo.
It's a big moment for Disney to release a film that is so beloved and then actually *confirm* that indeed, the character we wondered about all along would be treated to his own gay storyline. It's a big watershed moment for a company that's long been a supporter of LGBTQ rights, even if they haven't said it outright. This is the same company that owns ABC and is responsible for the gay-themed sitcom "The Real O'Neals" after all.
The problem I have here with the film's defectors is that the animated film these critics claim to hold with such high regard also had this obvious storyline. You can't look back at the animated "Beauty & The Beast" and tell me with a straight face that La Fou wasn't every bit as flamboyant and outward about his affection as the live-action version played by Josh Gad. (For the record, Gaston is played by openly-gay actor Luke Evans).
I saw this film in an advanced screening and the "gay" moments are fleeting, if anything. Honestly, I was a bit dismayed that La Fou's affection for Gaston is used more as a comedic vehicle for cheap laughs than anything surrounding an "agenda" - whatever that "gay agenda" is anyway. It's really this treatment of the character that people should be upset about, if anything. However, as the most vocal opponents tend to marginalize those different than they, here we are.
Let me give you a little insight on something much more surprising and appreciated. There's another moment that I found far more genuine that actually has nothing to do with Le Fou, but rather one of the townspeople. Look for his run-in with the wardrobe toward the end of the film. It's a quick subtle nod that adults will be quick to catch, but kids will just take at face-value. Which is to say, it's the adults making a big deal out of this. Kids won't even notice what's happening... definitely above their heads, just as the cartoon version was (obviously) to those who are JUST realizing it now.
The live-action version is VERY faithful to the animated classic. This is a great thing and why the movie ultimately succeeds at retelling the story in a way that gives us an even deeper look into what the story is really trying to tell us.
And that's the real problem here... as kids, we are all just discovering what the world was about when the cartoon version was released and none of us were looking into the deeper subtext because that's just not what kids do. We took it at face-value, and accepted it as a fun film to watch. This live-action film is just as fun to watch.
If you want to be a productive member of society, you have to get past any preconceived notion that the mere image or suggestion of a gay person on film is going to somehow send your child down a regrettable path of self-destruction. You need to look at yourself... because if you have a problem with the storyline, it is ultimately you who will be responsible for feeding those negative feelings into your children.
Or, you know, you can use this moment and say nothing to your children about it and just let them enjoy the normalcy of the film for what it is: showing us that the inner beauty of a person is much more important than what we see on the outside. Gay, Straight or Beast.