Five reasons why Maurice is a good father in Beauty and the Beast (2017)

One performance in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (2017) I most enjoyed was Kevin Kline as Maurice. I thought he captured several good parenting skills in his portrayal of the inventive father of avid-reader, and protagonist Belle. This post is a list of how well Maurice models good parenting.

Spoiler warning – this post contains plot spoilers specific to the 2017 Beauty and the Beast film.

The Positive Parenting Program (The Triple P, an Australian initiative) presents good resources for families. They teach techniques to raise happier kids. They encourage parents to feel confident they are doing the right thing. They instruct parents how to take care of themselves as well.

One blog post from Matt Sanders of the Triple P program describes the five things that fathers and father figures should know.

Here’s how Maurice stacks up next to those ideas:

#1 Talk to your kids – Maurice and Belle share some of the most powerful conversations in the film.

This is a foregone conclusion. Maurice respects Belle, and speaks to her as an equal. On to the next one.

#2 Play with your kids – Building intricate things is one of Maurice’s skills, and he created a finely crafted baby rattle for Belle to play with.

It’s easy to picture Belle and Maurice playing with various micro mechanical projects together. Belle was able to design and implement a donkey-powered washing machine early in the film with her technical knowledge, after all.

#3 Set a good example – Of all the people in the community, Maurice is the only one to stand up to Gaston. This turns out to be costly, since Gaston is a neanderthal with a mind for wily strategy.

Maurice aims to be upstanding in all he does, regardless of who is watching. Except for maybe one lapse in judgement. He tries to strike Gaston with an open hand. In his defence, Gaston had verbally assaulted his daughter, attempted to murder him, and was casually gas lighting him in front of the town. Extreme conditions, for sure.

#4 Keep your vaccinations up to date – While vaccination would not enter mainstream medicine until the late 18th Century, Maurice protects himself and Bell from disease. This is a key plot point in the film.

Belle and Maurice move from Paris to the country to escape a plague. Belle’s mother died from infection. Maurice was doing everything he could.

#5 Get screened for depression – Despite Maurice being a model citizen, Gaston disparages his mental state, and a dour coachman hauls him off to the asylum.

His mental health remains sound, despite these assaults. He speaks in an even, conversational way to the coachman from the Asylum after he escapes the asylum’s padded and barred carriage. It is one sign that Maurice endures pain and grief, but resists violence and despair. His positive mental state persists.

At the end of the film, Maurice has moved from clockwork and metal crafts to painting. He appears calm, perhaps taking time to recover from his ordeal, and celebrate his daughters wedding by capturing the moment with water colours on canvas. But this is why care for and checking on mental health must take priority – like Maurice, a person with depression can appear find on the surface, but in reality, need more help. let’s hope he finds what he needs.

The original blog post with information for fathers and father figures can be found on the Triple P Blog, and you can read more about the Triple P initiative on their website.

This post was written by Joe at The Wallflyer. You can find more posts here at The Wallflyer, and you can follow me on Twitter for more updates.

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Here’s a list of all the books and writing references in Beauty and the Beast (2017)

Last week, Disney’s live action Beauty and the Beast arrived in cinemas. While most of the world saw the movie release on March 17, Australia was one week behind with a March 23 release date. Regardless, the movie celebrates reading and books through avid-reader, and protagonist, Belle.

This post is a comprehensive list of the books and writing referenced in the new, live action film.

1. Romeo and Juliet – William Shakespeare – 1623 folio

In the initial opening song, Belle tells a surprised gentleman about a book she just finished reading. The red and gold volume she carries is about “two lovers in fair Verona”. This may be a small anachronism. Romeo and Juliet would have been a key show performed by acting troupes, but not published yet since Belle lives in early 1700’s and as a result. History may be on the side of the producers, however. A folio version of the Shakespeare play was available from around 1623 onward.

A second reference to the works of William Shakespeare appears when Belle recites a quote from A Midsummer Nights Dream:

“Love can transpose to form and dignity. Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind”

2. A Crystal Forest – William Sharp – 1913

While definitely an anachronism, the poem Belle selects to describe the ice and snow cloaking Beast’s garden could is definitely evocative and descriptive. William Sharp published a book of poems in 1913 that contained A Crystal Forest. Belle does not complete the poem, but the last line of the poem from where Belle leaves the reading ties up the sense of winter cold:

Each branch, each twig, each blade of
grass.

Seems clad miraculously with glass:
Above the ice-bound streamlet bends.

Each frozen fern with crystal ends.

3. Vulgate Cycle – Prose Lancelot – 1210 – 1230

Belle and the Beast share a connection over reading and stories. The Beast slowly warms to the idea of connection with another person after long-term isolation from the world at the hands of the enchantment.

As part of this process of reconnecting, he finds the story of Lancelot and Guinevere. This version is likely a collection of stories from a legendary text called the Vulgate Cycle. This cycle consists of five volumes telling the story of King Arthur and Camelot.

Lancelot and Guinevere’s romance takes place in one of these volumes.

The Prose Lancelot collects several of the five together. Beast most likely reads from the collected edition Prose Lancelot.

Another interesting point – The Vulgate Cycle contains the stories of Merlin, King Arthur, and the sword Excalibur. These stories form the basis of another Disney film The Sword in the Stone.

4. Sleeping Beauty – 1697

This one is not explicitly stated. While no confirmation that Sleeping Beauty features as Belle’s favourite book, there are some hints that Belle is describing Sleeping Beauty when she sings “here’s where she meets prince charming…”.

Reddit user comatoseduck identified some evidence for this theory:

Far off places: … a different kingdom.
Daring Sword Fights: Prince Phillip fights Maleficent (who had turned into a dragon) with a sword.
Magic Spells: Maleficent, Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather all do magic in the movie.
A Prince in Disguise: When Aurora meets Phillip, she doesn’t know he’s a prince.

Four resources where useful for gathering this information:

  1. The Genius.com article on Romeo and Juliet.
  2. The TimelessMyths.com article on The Vulgate Cycle.
  3. The Internet Archive copy of Poems, by William Sharp.
  4. The Fan Theories sub-Reddit page.

This post was written by Joe at The Wallflyer. You can find more posts here at The Wallflyer, and you can follow me on Twitter for more updates.