I couldn’t write about politics today. Heck, I can barely stand looking at my Facebook feed anymore. I made that mistake earlier this week and I’m still reeling from having to unfriend 37 people. Don't misunderstand - it wasn’t for their differing opinions, but for straight up hate-mongering. The few bright spots in my week have been entertainment-related. If ever we needed a distraction, it’s now.
This week, Disney’s live action “Beauty and the Beast” trailer was released. The film stars Emma Watson of “Harry Potter” as Belle, something I find soothing in and of itself. A feminist activist playing the role of the headstrong, brilliant and book-loving Belle feels right to me. If you watch the trailer for the 1991 animated film next to the trailer for the new one, it’s almost the same, shot for shot. I find that comforting, too.
Though they’ve found varying degrees of success, the live-action Disney films have been lovely to watch. I’m not sure why, as I’m a huge fan of animation even now, but it’s like getting a more grown-up version of the stories from my childhood. The pure escapism of it all, the sets, the costumes, the makeup on Dan Stevens as the Beast, the adorable dinnerware that speaks — it made me smile for the first time this week.
If your reality has been anything like mine, you're probably eager for some escapism, too. Whatever your politics, you must have been hearing about hate crimes. My friends have been told to go back to their own countries, had hate symbols spraypainted on their houses and more. I’ve gotten so much hate mail that I can barely get through it all. So I watched this and the “Rogue One” trailer over and over. I retreated into books I’ve read a million times.
Oh, I’m still fighting. But even fighters need a few moments of peace. There was a line in “Westworld” this week (no spoilers here) about wanting to be a part of the books you read as a child. I bet I wasn’t the only one who was struck by that in a profound way.
In “Beauty and the Beast,” Belle’s father is taken prisoner by the Beast. Instead of mourning when something bad happens, she takes his place and saves his life. The Beast was punished with his monstrous form after showing no compassion to an old woman. He slowly but surely learns to love and be deserving of love. Oh god, I’d love to believe in fairy tales and happy endings right now.
I’m going to go watch the trailer again, just one more time, before I have to go back out into the world. Maybe twice.