Emma Watson Denies ‘Beauty & The Beast’ Is About Stockholm Syndrome

Depending on who you ask, Beauty And The Beast is either a timeless romance, or the story of a girl who gets kidnapped and held prisoner in a castle full of creepy talking cutlery until she falls in love with her captor. 
Some people even like to say that Belle, the heroine of the tale, has Stockholm Syndrome, the psychological condition that causes hostages to develop feelings of trust and affection for their kidnappers.  
That would fit, given that a lot of fairy tales are actually dark as fuck – early versions of Sleeping Beauty had the heroine get pregnant and give birth while asleep, while The Little Mermaid felt excruciating pain with every step she took. 
Those details conveniently didn’t make it into the Disney animated versions of those stories, which is probably for the best given that they would have traumatised a generation of ’90s kids, but you get the idea. 
Emma Watson, the star of the upcoming live action Beauty And The Beast, recently gave an interview about the film to EW, and when asked the Stockholm Syndrome question, she shut it right down, saying:

“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 … 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.”
She went on to say that her character spends a lot of time in the movie “giving [Beast] hell”, and that:

“Beast and Belle begin their love story really irritating each other and really not liking each other very much. They build a friendship, slowly, slowly, slowly, and very slowly that builds to them falling in love. They are having no illusions about who the other one is. They have seen the worst of one another, and they also bring out the best.”

She continues:

“In fact, she gives as good as she gets. He bangs on the door, she bangs back. There’s this defiance that ‘You think I’m going to come and eat dinner with you and I’m your prisoner – absolutely not’. I think that’s the other beautiful thing about the love story. They form a friendship first and that gap in the middle where there is this genuine sharing, the love builds out of that, which in many ways I actually think is more meaningful than a lot of love stories, where it was love at first sight.”
TBH, we’ll just defer to the wisdom of Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson on this one. 

Beauty And The Beast is out March 23 in Australia.

Photo: Juan Naharro Gimenez / Getty.