“Beauty and the Beast” has been released this week for the film’s 25th anniversary. Because I’m me, I pre-ordered the collector’s addition. “Beauty and the Beast” has been one of my very favorite movies since my childhood. Yes, I know I’m only nineteen, and I say this like I am forty-something. Sharing the name Belle comes with a certain pride, as she is the princess most like myself. The people of her village find her strange simply because she reads, and does not enjoy the company of the town’s resident jerk. As I watched “Beauty and the Beast” with my sorority sisters spouting out fun facts about the making of the movie, I began to consider the overarching theme. I have always loved the fairy tale aspect of the film, as well as the overall messages: true beauty is found inside.

The Beast’s character development throughout the film is a beautiful thing to watch. Before Belle arrives, he has embraced his animalistic side, wears tattered and ripped clothing, and seems to only socialize with his servants, if anyone. His curse has given him until his 21st birthday to find love, and be loved in return. He has completely lost hope that this will happen as time passes. Through Belle’s kindness, the Beast learns how to become a better person, and this is what relationships should be built on. Without challenging each other to be better people, no one would learn from their relationships.

This is a crucial message that everyone should believe. If beauty were only skin deep, we would be living in a rather different world. Take Gaston’s character for instance: a handsome man, but arrogant and cruel. His outward appearance does not dictate his personality or his true being. The Beast comes off as gruff and grotesque, but is truly a caring and gentle man. I wish more people could realize that their personality and heart means so much more than their looks. Unfortunately, society sways people to look a certain way, and to be a certain size. Imagine how boring our world would be if everyone looked the same. We should celebrate our differences, and avoid berating them. Beauty is not simply found in appearances; it is in the love we show other people. I have always loved this message, and I am glad I was able to learn this at a young age.

You don’t need Belle’s elegant yellow dress to be beautiful. Her kindness and her bravery are so much more important. “Beauty and the Beast” taught me how to value people based on their personalities and actions, not on their outward beauty. I only hope this message is one I can pass on to the world around me.