Let’s rank a Beauty and a Beast couple on a spectrum from the best chemistry to the worst chemistry and even share on what the opinions of the BATB think is the best and worst couple.
Oh, that’s fun. I’m focusing on full length adaptations here, be they film, novel or TV series, because If I start bringing short stories and picture books into it we’ll be here forever. Weigh in with your own top ten list, everyone!
Belle and Beast (Beauty and the Beast, 1991)
Oh, come on. That ballroom number. That sassy tit-for-tat banter. Those heartfelt song-and-dance routines! Those lovingly animated lingering touches and subtly shifting expressions! There’s a reason this movie was advertised as a Date Movie and not just a family film. Top marks for drama and romance.
Beauty and the Beast (Rose Daughter, 1997)
The monster you take home to meet the family. Everyone is very sad, and very oblique and mysterious through most of this book, but there’s still time for our alchemist Beast to show off his murals and to leave Beauty absolutely gasping with sensual overload after what some might deem too thorough an application of healing salve. Points for surprise sensuality!
Julie and Netvor (Panna a Netvor, 1978)
They are already confessing their love for each other by the time she realizes he’s a monster, and even when she knows this, she tries to accept it before panicking and running away. It’s hard to go “whoops, sorry, wrong number!” to someone, even a giant gore-covered carrion bird, once you’ve already led them to your bed and whispered about how you’re dreaming of their kiss. Many points for angst and pervasive dread.
Catherine and Vincent (Beauty and the Beast, 1987)
These two exist to dance a gauzy waltz of earnest longing and society-could-never-understand-our-love-and-possible-psychic-connection usually reserved for teen vampires. Too bad the series couldn’t maintain it and gave them a surprise tragedy baby before they ever had a not-a-dream-sequence onscreen kiss.
Belle and La Bete (La Belle et La Bete, 1946)
A pair of strong but not necessarily likeable personalities might fall flat if not for the pervasive sense of danger and sensuality present throughout their strange encounter. These two are almost more ciphers for the unconscious than they are fully fleshed out characters, but that makes sense in the dreamy, surrealist world of this film. One feels more romanced by the ambiance than by the players.
Belle and La Bete (La Belle et la Bete 2014)
Nothing but sexual tension here. This is almost more of a battle than a romance, between two strong personalities with baggage galore and enough chips on their shoulders to open a food truck. A few breathtakingly sensual scenes (That kiss on the ice, amiright?) don’t rescue the film from a pervasive sense of masculine entitlement, the threat of violence, and toxic romance tropes, but it’s nice to imagine them fitting somewhere into a better story.
Beauty and the Beast (Beauty, 1978)
A congenial courtship between a well-matched pair who start off on slightly uneven footing but seem to end up happy enough. Not a lot of sensuality or tension between the two, but a nice sense of muted longing on the Beast’s part. Points for revolutionizing the fairy tale retelling genre.
Lindy And Adrian/Kyle (Beastly, 2007)
Yes, I’m grating my teeth as Adrian/Kyle sadsacks around and mopily compares himself to the Phantom of the Opera, but I’m also smiling, at least a little, as he and Lindy watch The Princess Bride, read poems in the greenhouse and compare abandonment issues. They’re a couple of dramatic high school kids who could really use a parent between ‘em and in the end I’m happy they’ve got each other. Don’t read any of the sequels (except Lindy’s Diary, which is cute fluff) and don’t watch the movie.
Chise and Elias (The Ancient Magus’ Bride, 2014)
(I’m not sure if I can really call this a BATB adaptation anymore, as Monster Lover it is evolving more into its own genre, and the series is doing its own thing more and more, but…) What’s going on with this pair? Will they be husband and wife? Mentor and trainee? Weird codependent magical battery packs? As Chise’s personality grows stronger and her trauma falls further behind her, Elias’ weirdness and weakness come more to the forefront, challenging the Commanding Gentleman Monster facade he first presents. Whether the pair will develop romantic chemistry remains to be seen, but they certainly depend on one another.
Tied for terrible chemistry that makes me upset are Belle and the Beast (Beauty and the Beast 2017) and Belle and the Beast (Beauty and the Beast 1976). Nobody likes negging. Girls aren’t going to start liking you because you make them feel bad.