Belle and the Beast, Part 4
Creepy stalker that he is, and unable to seal the deal with Belle, Craig/Gaston tries a new tactic: whining to his cousin. He catches Anna at work, where he reveals that he just knows that Belle is “The One,” “who can stand by me in everything I’m supposed to do in life,” (In the brief reaction shot, I would like to think that Anna has a sort of “uh-huh, yeah, keep telling yourself that” look on her face, but the movie doesn’t really care what Anna thinks.) She still trusts her cousin way too much, though, and when he whines about Belle always being at Eric’s place, she explains the whole sordid deal about Belle’s dad.
In a rare moment of sense, Craig opines that it all “sounds like extortion,” which it kinda-sorta does, though it’s almost more like indentured servitude, to my way of thinking.
Anyway, we cut to Eric, who is just getting in from New York. I like this guy more and more, because he’s like me and needs to shower the instant he gets home from a plane trip. The omnipresent Mrs. Haygood unpacks his suitcase, noticing the Bible or Book of Mormon that Eric took to New York with him. Just as she did when he and Belle were getting cozy, she does the Wise and Satisfied Nod. Sticking her nose into Eric’s business as usual, she plants in his head the idea that he release Belle from her obligation, but invite her to stay on as his (presumably paid in real money this time) assistant.
Craig/Gaston heads to Belle’s house to do some more creepy stalking. He invites Belle on a date “whenever,” and Belle finally decides it is time to stick a fork in this relationship and call it done. She simply and directly tells him that she is “just not interested in you like that,” but of course, being the creepy stalker that he is, Craig isn’t having any of that.
Craig: When you change your mind…I’ll be here.
Belle: Craig, I’m not going to–
Craig: *puts his hand in front of her mouth in a classic, “hush, you silly little girl” motion*
(In all fairness, Belle is suitably freaked out by this action, jerking away as he does it, so he never actually touches her mouth.)
Craig heads to his car, and Belle gets a nice “whoa, I knew he was weird, but…” look on her face.
In his car, Craig cements his Gaston cred by calling Belle’s dad’s work and pretending to be Eric, lodging a complaint. (Hilariously, it appears Craig has memorized the phone number of the chimney repair place, punching it cheerfully into his phone like he’s calling his local pizza place.)
I feel like it’s been a good month since the accident with the vase, so I find myself wondering if Belle’s dad’s boss would take such a complaint seriously at this point.
“Yeah, four weeks ago, your repairman broke an expensive piece of decorative art at my home.”
“Sir, may I ask why you didn’t tell us when this happened?”
Inspired by the gossipy wench who works for him, Eric calls Belle. He is absolutely adorable as he does it too, cheerfully punching the keys with flourishes, then self-deprecatingly laughing at himself. He asks her to come over, not to work, but just so he “can talk to you about something.” Given Belle’s smile, she seems to Get It. In a nice touch, both Belle and Eric then go and change their clothes into more date-like. Belle lets her hair down from its ponytail and puts on a sparkly sweater (the first sparkly thing she has ever worn in this movie) and some lipstick, and when we next see Eric, he has changed from jeans and a long-sleeved t-shirt into a collared shirt and nice pants.
Belle has such a great sweater collection. I want this one, too–I could totally rock that color.
All the sparkly sweaters in the world are for naught, though, as Belle’s loser father slouches home just as she’s leaving, having been fired because of “that horrible, horrible man.”
Well, at least Eric can keep a job for longer than three months, bozo. Just sayin’.
Outraged, Belle storms over to Eric’s, where she gives him a good slap on the cheek and a “How could you?” As with any romantic Big Misunderstanding, Belle does not say exactly what happened, so Eric remains utterly confused.
And of course, her parting shot is, “You really are a beast.”
The Musical Montage of Sadness plays, as Eric tries several times to call Belle. After a few days of this, he tries the home phone instead…and Kelli picks up.
Kelli: I don’t think anyone here wants to talk to you. *long, regretful pause* Sorry.
Aww, they bonded! That’s…actually kinda heartwarming.
In the rest of the montage, Anna tries to comfort Belle, but Belle blows her off, and Eric tries to comfort himself by playing basketball outside in the snow, but he sucks.
Eric decides that the direct approach is best, and heads to Belle’s house, only to be blown off by her father, who is “busy looking for a job.”
IT’S ALL COMING TOGETHER NOW…
Eric, unlike Craig, has not memorized the chimney repair company’s number, and actually has to go home to find the number. Ha! (I guess we should give Craig his due—man’s got one hell of a memory!)
Eric gets Belle’s dad his job back (the chimney repair company’s administrative staff must be thoroughly confused by now), and tries once more to call Belle, but she’s still not having it.
Belle’s dad actually has a moment of decency, and thanks Belle for everything she’s done—moving back home, working for Eric, etc. And he tells her that it’s finally time to do something that will make her happy. And Belle finally takes one of Eric’s calls.
Sadly, as must always be the case with the Big Misunderstanding, Eric doesn’t say the pertinent detail quickly enough. Had he read more romance novels, he would have known to spit out something like, “ItWasn’tMeWhoComplainedAboutYourDad.” But when he only characterizes what happened as “a mistake,” Belle has all the ammunition she needs to point out (correctly enough, but still), that he should never have made the deal with her in the first place.
The Musical Sting of Apprehension plays, as Eric hangs up with Belle…and spies his commemorative liquor bottle.
And we learn that although Anna might not characterize Craig as the creepy stalker he is, she does support Belle in not wanting to see him anymore, because “I know how he can be.” I doubt that she does, but at least her heart is basically in the right place. In fact, she urges Belle to forgive Eric, but Belle’s not having any of that, either.
It’s been awhile, but…
Beauty vs. Belle Change!
*Eric is at his nightstand, putting on his watch. He see the Book of Mormon sitting there, picks it up, changes his mind, puts it back down.*
(Apparently, no complementary scene was shot with a Bible.
(Also, I didn’t see this until now, but Eric’s Book of Mormon has the name “Sarah Landry,” emblazoned on the corner of the cover. Nice touch.)
True to his creepy-stalker word, Craig shows up at Belle’s work to say how sorry he was to hear about her dad, and that he’s there if she needs him. Belle blows him off. Good girl.
Meanwhile, the last little bit of temptation-through-frustration hits Eric, as he fumbles and spills a bunch of files. This is actually a pretty good crap cherry on the shit sundae—that one final, minor, stupid thing that makes a person lose it.
He goes to pout in his living room, and suffers from that unfortunate acting problem wherein “heartbreak” is largely indistinguishable from “moderate gastrointestinal discomfort.”
The result of driving away the love of his life, or eating some bad tacos? You decide.
He eyes the Bible or Book of Mormon (which, in the latter case, apparently teleported from his bedroom to the living room), and then tries to pray but can’t.
Okay, that’s what it looks like to my atheist eyes, at least.
SO IT’S TIME FOR BOOZE
Eric beelines for his commemorative liquor bottle, which, you’ll remember, is in a nice commemorative case. He punches the glass to get at the bottle, which seems dramatic and all until you see that the commemorative case is one of those display boxes for sports memorabilia that you get at Michaels, which means that all Eric really had to do to get the bottle was slide the glass upward.
See? Look at the upper corner of the box. All he had to do was slide the glass!
But hey, yanno, it’s dramatic, innit?
(Also, that is the weirdest-looking booze bottle I have ever seen.)
The next morning, Belle and Anna are meeting Craig for breakfast.
Anna: Look, Craig begged me. He just wanted to see you one more time, and he swore that if you still felt…whatever…that he’d back off.
Anna, I am very disappoint.
Craig hasn’t “backed off” even when Belle told his straight-up that she Just Wasn’t Into Him, so I don’t see what a chaperoned breakfast will accomplish.
Very disappoint, Anna.
Belle’s primary complaint, however, is that Anna told Craig about her dad being fired. Anna, of course, did not tell Craig any such thing…
IT ALL MAKES SENSE NOW!!!11!!11!1!!!!11!!
Just at that moment, Craig arrives, and Belle puts it to him. Like a sociopathic idiot, Craig lies about Anna…to Anna’s face.
Craig: Anna told me.
Anna: No I didn’t!
Dude. That takes balls. Not good balls, mind you, but balls.
Belle immediately discerns that it was Craig, not Eric, who called the chimney repair boss, and shoves Craig out of the booth onto his ass. Anna follows, snorting at him, “You are such a loser.”
Gaston’s ultimate fate in this movie is not quite as dramatic as this:
Or this, for that matter:
Belle rushes to Eric’s but of course he is not there. She and Mrs. Haygood find the smashed commemorative box.
“Oh, he didn’t!” gasps Belle, because we all know the single worst thing a man can do in a moment of sadness is to have a drink.
(I know, I know, I know that Mormons aren’t supposed to drink ever, at all, and I know that Eric was a problem drinker. I just don’t personally sign onto the idea that if anyone has ever had a problem with alcohol, they can never have a drink ever again. Personal observation.)
But Belle knows just where to find the missing Eric: the snowy wilderness where they had their “bad things happen to good people” conversation. Sure enough, there he is, because if there’s one thing we know about Eric, it’s that he loves to hang out in the snow for hours on end.
He’s sitting around, holding the bottle, prompting the following exchange:
Belle: Eric? What are you doing here?
Belle: Just thinking?
Geez, Belle, police people much?
Turns out that Eric was just thinking, not drinking, and he throws the unopened (but still weird-looking) bottle into a pond. “I was tired of it hanging over me,” he explains. Makes sense.
They actually have a nice little heart-to-heart, standing there in the snow, with Eric leading off by apologizing for everything to do with Belle’s father. Unfortunately, it is at this point that the writers remembered that this is a Beauty and the Beast movie.
Eric: I’ve seen the way you treat others and how you treated me.
That sounds very Beauty-and-the-Beast-ish, and all, but really, Belle berated Eric from the get-go, and it’s a wonder he didn’t go back on their deal. As for others, Belle was awesome to move back home and help raise her siblings after their mother’s death, but I haven’t really seen too many examples of her being extra-specially nice and kind to others, like strangers.
The writers also remember that this is a Christian movie.
Eric: I realize now…I was never alone. I just wasn’t listening.
Yep, that’s right Eric, it is your fault for not “listening” to Jesus. You poor, silly sap, thinking you were all alone after your wife died next to you and you sat with her body for three hours by yourself…and your friends deserted you and the town started using you as a Sunday School lesson.
Yeah, Eric had tons of support. He just wasn’t listening for it.
Eric: You were right—God wants me to be happy.
I gotta figure those are easier words to say when you’re talking to a beautiful woman in a gorgeous natural setting, but more difficult to say when you’re trapped in a car with your dead wife.
Eric adorably asks her to stay on as his assistant, then self-consciously backtracks and admits that is “just an excuse” for asking her to stay in his life.
Damn, guy is just too cute. I mean, he sucked as a mean guy, but this is really his strength.
Eric: I’ve only cared about myself for a very long time…
Well, since no one else cared about him, can’t say as I blame him.
Eric: …and it’s awkward…now that I care about you.
Okay, this is not the end of Sense and Sensibility or anything, but I’ll admit it like the honest person I am: I’m picking up what this guy is putting down.
Finally, Eric declares he will try as hard as he can to deserve Belle. Calling back to her father’s suggestion, Belle responds:
“Well, you don’t have to try very hard. You make me happy.”
That…doesn’t make too much sense to me, as far as the trying part, but it’s still pretty sweet. Damn shame that the women in these Christian romances never seem to be as well done as the men.
So, they kiss, of course, and—
WAIT A SECOND
An unmarried man and woman have just locked lips in a Christian movie, and we’re seeing it happen.
We need proof of this momentous event.
Wow. Mind blown. (And it’s not even the world’s most chaste kiss, either. I mean, they’re not sticking their tongues down each other’s throats, but they’re clearly both into it, with the grabbing of the jacket and the neck.)
Heading back out over the mountains, we hear again from our chipper narrator lady:
With Eric’s transformation and his renewed faith, the people in the land discovered the Beast was gone. In his stead was a kind and gentle man, whose heart had been changed by the power of God and the love of a woman named Belle. And while their world wasn’t perfect, they still lived happily ever after.
I know I say this a lot, but I did not see much power of God in this movie. Not saying that’s a bad thing, just that I don’t see where the narrator is getting this.
Then again, perhaps I, like Eric, was “not listening.”
And these Christian towns suck. I am reminded so much of Christmas Town, and our conclusion that the people of the town were way worse to Jordan Scoville than he ever was to them. Same here. I mean, Eric was a jerk to a few individuals, but it’s not like he ever taught a classroom full of children to hate and fear anyone.
Ah well. Belle is not the greatest, but certainly a big step up from Joella Ratchford.
By popular request…
1950s kids take on science and creationism!