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‘Belle’ gives a new view of ‘Beauty and the Beast’

Dan Webster

Above: "Belle" opens Friday at AMC River Park Square. (Photo/Studio Chizu)

Besides “Scream,” which I wrote about yesterday, Spokane should see a bit of Japanese anime beginning on Friday.

“Belle,” written and directed by Mamoru Hosoda, opens at AMC River Park Square. Hosoda’s 2018 film “Mirai” was nominated for a Best Animated Feature Oscar (it lost out to “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”).

“Belle” follows the story of Suzu, a 17-year-old high school student who, following her mother’s death, becomes a singing online celebrity under an assumed avatar named U. Various adventures occur, the main one involving a character called The Dragon, before U is able to reconcile her feelings over the loss of his mother.

Hosoda’s film, which was inspired by “’The Beauty and the Beast,” is attracting great reviews (a 97 percent critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes).

Derek Smith of Slant Magazine wrote, “For all of the film's visually striking action and musical set pieces, it's the generosity of spirit with which it approaches the modern teenage experience that's its most impressive attribute.”

Deborah Young of The Hollywood Reporter wrote, “Ludvig Forssell and Yuta Bando's music binds the scenes together, swelling in a series of emotional crescendos that are Hosoda's trademark.”

Philip de Semlyen of Time Out wrote, “ ‘Belle’ is also incredibly funny, gear-shifting from soaring uplift and plunging lows to bone-dry comic moments that Hosoda edits perfectly to nail the endless awkwardness of high-school romantic encounters.”

What’s clear is that the film, produced by Studio Chizu, proves that Studio Ghibli isn’t the only quality anime in Japan – something that anime fans are already aware of.

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