starring Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Emma Thompson
screenplay by Evan Spiliotopoulos and Stephen Chbosky and Bill Condon, based on the screenplay by Linda Woolverton
directed by Bill Condon
by Walter Chaw Three cheers for Disney's dedication to diversity. I saw a production of "A Christmas Carol" last year with a fully-integrated cast. It made no sense, but hooray for diversity at any cost, even at the expense of sense--even at the risk of self-parody. Even when it doesn't move the ball, necessarily. I'm not talking about making Gaston's fawning sidekick LeFou (Josh Gad) overtly gay instead of merely coding him as such, I'm talking about making every other person a person of colour for the express purpose of being on the right side of some imaginary, constantly-moving but unforgiving line in history. Sometimes, it's a good thing; sometimes it feels desperate; and sometimes, it's just premature. When it's good, it looks like Disney's Rogue One, where the diversity spoke to oppressed cultures revolting against a fascist, white-nationalist regime. When it's not good, it looks clueless. We're not a post-racial society; presenting us as such, burdened as it is by the damning weight of good intentions, comes with the danger of excreting another Cloud Atlas fantasy--the type of movie the white people in Get Out would make: tone-deaf and offensive at worst. Or, as with this live-action Beauty and the Beast, just sort of silly and twee.