Emma Watson Addresses ‘Beauty and the Beast’s Stockholm Syndrome Debate
When in doubt, do some research!
That’s exactly what Emma Watson did to fully understand the controversy surrounding Beauty and the Beast and the question of whether Belle is trapped in an abusive relationship. Watson, who stars in the live-action version of the Disney film, gave a meaningful and articulate answer on the hotly-debated topic.
Does Belle fall in love with her captor?
“It’s such a good question and it’s something I really grappled with at the beginning; the kind of Stockholm Syndrome question about this story,” explained Watson in the interview with Entertainment Weekly. “That’s where a prisoner will take on the characteristics of and fall in love with the captor. Belle actively argues and disagrees with [Beast] constantly. She has none of the characteristics of someone with Stockholm Syndrome because she keeps her independence, she keeps that freedom of thought.”
Belle sacrifices herself by taking her father’s place as Beast’s prisoner. This choice falls in line with Belle’s independent and selfless nature. In fact, Watson is quick to point out that the heroine goes toe-to-toe with the Beast and fights back every chance she gets. She’s not a quiet, feeble prisoner who simply accepts her fate. Belle only changes her mind about the Beast after he demonstrates his buried vulnerability and capacity to love and be empathetic towards others.
“I think there is a very intentional switch where in my mind Belle decides to stay. She’s giving him hell. There is no sense of, ‘I need to kill this guy with kindness,’” Watson added.
Watch the full interview below and then hit the comments to dish and discuss.
Beauty and the Beast hits theaters March 17.