Belle (2023) – Movie Review and Summary

Max Gold’s “Belle” is a beautiful and violent adaptation of “Beauty and the Beast” that creates its own individual magic by the end.

General Information

Director(s) Max Gold
Screenplay By Max Gold
Based On “Beauty and the Beast” 
Date Released (Video On Demand) August 22, 2023
Genre(s) Fantasy, Horror
Film Length 1 Hour 33 Minutes
Content Rating Not Rated
Noted Characters and Cast
Belle Andrea Snædal
The Beast Ingi Hrafn Hilmarsson

What Is “Belle” Rated And Why?

“Belle” is not rated, but includes graphic scenes of violence with some sex and nudity. 

Film Summary

This content contains pertinent spoilers. Also, images and text in this post may contain affiliate links. If a purchase is made from those sites, we may earn money or products from the company.

“Belle” is an enchanting and morbid adaptation of the old French fairytale “Beauty and the Beast.” Director and writer Max Gold infuses realism and darkness into the centuries-old story while still maintaining the magic at its core. “Belle” is a perfect example of how to capture a fairy tale’s essence and still modernize the themes for an audience today.

“Belle” is broken into chapters and narrated by the Beast’s ex-lover (Hana Vagnerová). After discovering that her lover cheated on her, she puts a curse on him that turns him into the Beast. But instead of physically turning the man into a hairy beast, his curse is that he grows an insatiable appetite to eat people. His monstrous quality is that he cannot help but feast on his fellow men. The Beast (Ingi Hrafn Hilmarsson) is doomed to repeat this wretched nature until he finds his true love.

In the same village, Belle (Andrea Snædal) is upset when her father attempts to sell her to an older man for marriage. Her father claims that he wants what’s best for his daughter, but Belle understands that without a choice in who she marries, she’ll never truly feel happy or free. She enjoys her independence and can find happiness without a man. When Belle’s father falls ill, she ventures to track down an urban legend known as the Beast. Belle plans to request the Beast’s enchanted rose in hopes that it will cure her father.

The rose cures her father, but now Belle is bound to be with the Beast, too. At first, she sees no trouble in the matter. But Belle soon witnesses the gruesome violence that the Beast is capable of, and she feels like a prisoner to another man. “Belle” explores if people can change despite what we’re told is our nature, and if we can change, what makes that change possible or unattainable?

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Andrea Snædal as Belle in “Belle” (directed by Max Gold, 2023)

Character Descriptions

Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member, and character descriptions may contain what can be considered spoilers.


Belle is a young woman who isn’t afraid to stand up against the men who think they can control her. Yet Belle also has compassion for those in society who have been banished: the sick, the cursed, and the outsiders.

The Beast

The Beast is a quiet man with little to say but much to fear since he can’t control his own violent urges or how people react to him. He’s removed from society and spends his days alone in a cave, awaiting his next victim. But when Belle arrives in his lair for the first time, he’s reluctant to kill her.


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Our Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing) 

Who Is This For?

If you want to see a darker version of fantasy stories you possibly grew up with, “Belle” is an adaptation you should take time to see.


Grounded Realism in Belle’s Setting and Dialogue Keep “Belle” Intriguing

“Belle” utilizes actual locations that are more beautiful and mystifying than the green screen and built sets of other “Beauty and the Beast” films. As the fog rolls down the hills and Belle steps through the thick, lush greenery of the forest, we feel we’re truly stepping into an ominous and magical world. Without depending on songs or romanticism, “Belle” becomes most intriguing and even relatable when Belle and the Beast simply talk to one another. Though a particular standout scene is when the two stay at another couple’s house, and the older couple tries to impart wisdom on Belle and the Beast.

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Belle (Andrea Snædal) and the Beast (Ingi Hrafn Hilmarsson) in “Belle” (directed by Max Gold, 2023)

Belle Has a Newfound Agency

Belle, as a princess, has always had more tenacity and intelligence than other Disney animated princesses, but “Belle” is able to capture the protagonist’s torn desires and imprisonment. No matter where she goes, she’s trapped by the demands of some man in her life. This Belle does not compromise her values and knows when to act and when to escape. Andrea Snædal invigorates Belle with more passion and agency than we’ve ever seen.

On The Fence

Slow Pacing for a Story We’ve Seen Before

“Belle” is only 90 minutes long. It’s quiet, pensive, and more interested in developing the prisons each protagonist inhabits and how their relationship can free them. Yet the first half of the story may be too familiar for some. The familiarity of Belle’s journey to the Beast may be comforting to some yet tedious to others who aren’t enthused by the “Beauty and the Beast” story. Nevertheless, “Belle” gradually develops its own story and fairytale ending.


Billed as a Horror Movie with Little Horror 

“Belle” is a difficult film to market, so its billing as a horror movie is understandable, but don’t walk into this movie hoping for jump scares or gore. This is not a violent slashfest like “Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey.” This is a more mature adaptation of a fairytale where the horror is the morbid or suffocating paths we’re destined to take.


If you like this movie, we recommend:

  1. Gretel and Hansel
  2. The Shape of Water
  3. Beauty and the Beast

Check out our movies page for our latest movie reviews and recommendations.


Answers to some questions you may have regarding this movie:

The Reason The Movie Is Named “Belle”

“Belle” is named after the film’s protagonist.

Does “Belle” Setup A Sequel or Prequel?

No, the film wraps up its fantasy story with a clever ending.

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Belle (2023) – Movie Review and Summary
Based on its mature themes, gorgeous locations, and grounded dialogue, "Belle" is a perfect example of how to capture a fairy tale’s essence and still modernize the themes for an audience today.
Grounded Realism in Belle’s Setting and Dialogue Keep "Belle" Intriguing
Belle Has a Newfound Agency
Pacing Slow for a Story We’ve Seen Before
Billed as a Horror Movie with Little Horror 

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