So, it's the case with Belle, the Beast and the rest of the cast. Belle is actually the daughter of a painter, with whom she left Paris as a baby in order to be protected from the of the plague that killed her mother. When travelling backwards through time into the attic where she used to live as an infant, she comes across a specific mask, thus allowing us to place the story into the 17th century, when this disease ravaged the capital of France for the second time. The bond between father and daughter is utterly strong, a result of the fact that they entirely depend on each other: Belle tries her best to save and protect her parent, even if having to use tricks, while Maurice, who clearly understands his child, firmly refuses to "give her hand" to a man she does not like, a rather peculiar situation at that time.
Belle's origin and cultural background is the obvious reason why she has trouble fitting in and gladly accepting to lead a delightful "provincial life", in a time and place where teaching a little girl how to read is considered as "dangerous" and where girls should only focus on breeding. According to Gaston, the handsome lad of the village who obsessively insists on marrying her, the only children she should focus on should be your own (From the animated movie, we even learned that he wants seven or eight boys that should resemble him entirely, desire that's totally suitable for a period in which a female newborn would be better off, thrown in the river). Moreover, in the setting where Belle is obliged to grow by the circumstances of her existence, the alpha-male, who even manages to attract his same sex-friends finds himself entitled to intimidate the girl who refuses to marry him and even to persecute her father. Excessively self-centred, Gaston is continuously praised by the majority of young men and women who spend their evenings at the local tavern. Therefore, he considers it odd to find himself rejected by the girl he chooses as a future wife. In his mind, the opposite of a marriage to him, would mean for Belle a lifetime of begging, alternative that he does not hesitate to point out.
Although after seing Belle's behaviour depicted in the animated movie may some may judge her inappropriately conclude that she's the worst, me, I honestly empathize with her. Of course, she is different. She's not like any girl from that village and she's totally entitled to wish for a more adventurous life. She reads while walking, exactly what Lory Gilmore does 300 years later in her small provincial Stars Hollow. The circumstances differ as Dean is attracted by Rory's lack of attention to her surroundings, while Gaston sees it rather peculiar. He chooses her to be his wife solely for her beauty.
...Contrary to The Beast, who, at first, is not at all impressed by her looks, treating her as a prisoner and expressing his inner rage towards her. With time, as they get to know each other, their feelings start to grow. After he saves her life as she tries to run away from him, they talk. And with every conversation, another part of themselves is revealed towards and thus, their relationship is formed and evolves. Despite their opposition of looks: from supreme attractiveness to extreme hideousness, they manage to focus solely on the inner qualities of one another. The Beast is for Belle the first individual who resembles her and gives her the feeling of being understood and accepted. She finally finds a common ground with someone and aims to hold on to it. The only moment she shortly abandons him is when duty calls and she has to intervene in order to saving her father. When the latter is out of any danger, she rushes back to the castle in an attempt to prevent an attack of the villagers led by Gaston, but finds herself in the middle of a fight between her two admirers. By openly choosing the Beast, she gives him strength to beat his opponent and, shortly after, kisses him and breaks the spell, revealing a charming prince, his servants, as well as a fairytale castle.
The good and beauty in people always wins, so the movie shows us a happy ending in which all danse joyfully.
In the end, I inevitably asked myself: "so, what is the big fuss about that gay moment anyway? Honestly, I found it so easy to (not) notice, that I keep thinking of it as a PR stunt to create a "Let's see that banned movie" sentiment. It's 2017, we know Ewan, but the setting of the movie is around the 17th century and in a rural French area, where coming out as gay was totally excluded. So, when Gaston asks LeFou "How is it no girl has snatched you up yet?", he vaguely responds that he really doesn't care. Exactly my feeling about all this "gay moment" and the controversy it created in countries like Russia or Malaysia.