Okay. So I may have made a comment in my Beauty and the Beast review that some people considered insensitive. Or politically incorrect. Or homophobic. Or some other random “offensive” thing that only exists in the minds of those who choose to take offense.
So, I’m here to clarify.
First, if you were to tell anyone who knows me that you think I’m “anti-gay,” that person would laugh uproariously and possibly have a cognitive-dissonance stroke (don’t laugh – I bet they happen a lot more often than you know).
Second, I did not say say that gays are unnecessary.
Although, when you get right down to it, gays are neither necessary nor unnecessary.
Being gay is a preference, like preferring mint chip over rocky road. One is like, “Mmmmm, I could sure go for some of that in a big sugar cone,” and the other is more like, “Eeeuw. I don’t like marshmallows. I’ll pass.” Neither of these preferences is necessary or unnecessary. Necessity is unrelated to this particular set of data.
Third, I did not say that I was offended by the fact that the screenwriters for the Beauty and the Beast remake turned the character LeFou into a gay. I said that decision was unnecessary.
“But Kristin! You just said necessity isn’t related to gayness!”
So I did.
But when I talk about a choice made by a screenwriter, I’m talking about story. I’m talking about narrative structure, entertainment value, satisfying resolutions, character arcs . . . you know – screenwriting stuff. The stuff that forms the foundation of a movie.
In Beauty and the Beast, both the 1991 version and the 2017 version, LeFou is a secondary character whose purpose is to provide insight into the mind of Gaston. Obviously we cannot know what’s going on in Gaston’s mind – what motivates him to make the choices he does – unless he has someone on-screen to talk to. That person is LeFou.
Had this been a spin-off feature about Gaston, rather than Belle and the Beast, LeFou’s sexual preference might have been key to the story. It might have impacted decisions Gaston made. It might have given LeFou a character arc that was tied to the overall narrative.
But this movie wasn’t about Gaston and LeFou. There was no narrative reason for LeFou to be flamboyantly gay.
And keep in mind, the writers didn’t just make him gay (a character trait that is invisible). This LeFou was GAY with glitter fireworks.
And as a lover of films, a writer, and an analyzer of both, I have to ask why.
Sure, it was entertaining. Josh Gad’s performance was lively and humorous. But not necessarily in a flattering way.
It was humorous in an “OMG, look how ridiculously GAY that guy is!” way.
In a movie that tried so hard to upgrade Belle to some kind of an 18th century feminist, how did laughing at a gay dude get a pass?
Personally, I don’t care if LeFou is gay or not. But I do care that the screenwriters spent more effort gaying him up than they did making sure the core story remained entertaining.
In order of importance, maintaining the delightful, fresh beauty of the original should have been at the top of the list. Bathing secondary characters in gay should have been a, “Hey, we’ve got a super tight script here. Now let’s see where we can insert some extra character development to make it that much stronger,” decision.
That is what I meant when I said turning LeFou into a gay was unnecessary.