If Belle Were on Goodreads, She'd Probably Act a Lot Like Emma Watson

Posted by Cybil on March 17, 2017


Disney's live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast hits theaters this weekend! For many readers, this is so much more than a princess movie: The "tale as old as time" is as much a love story about Belle and her books as it is about Belle and her prince-turned-monster.

In other words, Belle is important to book lovers. Luckily, so is the actress who's portraying her in the new film. From Hermione to UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, Emma Watson is basically our modern-day Belle—and she talks like her, too.


And, like Belle, Emma can't keep her love of books to herself. Last year, she joined Goodreads and started Our Shared Shelf, a feminist book club that now has more than 150,000 members around the world.



Every other month, Our Shared Shelf selects a new book to read and discuss. They're currently tackling Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype (a nice parallel with Beauty and the Beast), but you can check out all of their past selections below.


Our Shared Shelf's Book Picks
Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype
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Mom & Me & Mom
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Half the Sky
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Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl
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The Complete Persepolis
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The Argonauts
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The Vagina Monologues
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How to Be a Woman
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All About Love
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The Color Purple
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My Life on the Road
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Of course, all of the above makes Gaston very uncomfortable….



If you like "getting ideas and thinking" like Belle, consider joining our Our Shared Shelf. Your fellow bookworms—and Emma!—are waiting. Join the book club here.


Check out more recent blogs:
The National Book Critics Circle Awards Pick LaRose, Evicted
St. Patrick's Day: Some Fictional Alternatives to Green Beer
20 Problems Only Book Lovers Understand

Comments Showing 1-50 of 79 (79 new)


Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* I know she's a book lover, but I wasn't crazy about this actress for this particular part.


message 2: by Cortney (new)

Cortney I can't wait until TONIGHT!!!!! I am counting down until the movie! Listening to the soundtrack now! <3


message 3: by Anne (new)

Anne Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder* wrote: "I know she's a book lover, but I wasn't crazy about this actress for this particular part."

Just out of curiosity, but who would you have chosen for the part? I'm with you in that at first I wasn't that into Watson as Belle (mainly because of the questionable singing capabilities of the majority of the main cast) - but from the clips I've seen (have to wait till end march till the movie premiers here) I honestly can't picture any other actress in the role.


message 4: by Cortney (new)

Cortney I'm actually listening to the soundtrack now, and although it is different from the original, it is spectacular! I love it! It more in depth and clear, I love it!


message 5: by Sumeet (new)

Sumeet Mahendra Just created new shelve "Emma's Lover" and all those books to it. Surely, gonna read every single of them, someday!


message 6: by Julia (new)

Julia Awesome movie--Emma was perfect! My whole family saw it last night, and Beauty and the Beast was my parents' wedding song!


message 7: by Derpa (new)

Derpa Maybe she shouldn't try to tell people who refuse to call themselves feminists that they are?? I have no idea why that is an okay thing to force on people.
You believe in a higher force? Well, you are a Christian!
Oh, you say that is not the only way to believe in some one god? Then why is feminism the only way of wanting equality (which can mean anything from equality of opportunity to equality of outcome)????

I for one am tired of spoilt actresses preaching and people acting like they are idols we have to blindly follow, because they are pretty and famous. (Shoot here.)


message 8: by Dara (new)

Dara Harvey This article is specious. Belle would never presume to tell people what their politics should be.


message 9: by Derek (new)

Derek I'll be seeing the movie in just 4 hours from now.


message 10: by Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* (last edited Mar 17, 2017 11:50AM) (new)

Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* Anne wrote: "Just out of curiosity, but who would you have chosen for the part? I'm with you in that at first I wasn't that into Watson as Belle (mainly because of the questionable singing capabilities of the majority of the main cast) - but from the clips I've seen (have to wait till end march till the movie premiers here) I honestly can't picture any other actress in the role. "

I didn't have someone specific in mind. To me she just doesn't fit it, hard to explain. I love the character of Belle though. Emma Watson is an okay actress but not sure as a lead role. I can reserve judgment until I see the entire movie, though. I wasn't convinced from the clips. I think she was chosen because she's popular right now, not necessarily because she would bring the most justice to the character acting-skill wise.


message 11: by Kerry (last edited Mar 17, 2017 12:21PM) (new)

Kerry Taylor She was horrible. I knew that she would be, my five-year-old is a better actress than her. Really, couldn't Disney get anyone else? She was so flat-lined and I kept thinking are you tired or sad? Gaston was the man of the show. His performance was fantastic, but Disney, please don't do this to another movie. Please!


message 12: by dani (last edited Mar 17, 2017 12:41PM) (new)

dani I am so glad they chose a strong, smart and well spoken woman for this part. I haven't seen anything she has been in, but Beauty and the Beast has been my favourite movie for decades. I am sure she gave the part her all and I hope she is a strong role model for young girls everywhere.


message 13: by dani (new)

dani Kerry wrote: "She was horrible. I knew that she would be, my five-year-old is a better actress than her. Really, couldn't Disney get anyone else? She was so flat-lined and I kept thinking are you tired or sad? G..."

What a bummer! I was a little stand offish about seeing it for that reason. I still hope the effects and other parts were worth giving it the once over.


message 14: by Jozzie (new)

Jozzie Derpa wrote: "Maybe she shouldn't try to tell people who refuse to call themselves feminists that they are?? I have no idea why that is an okay thing to force on people.
You believe in a higher force? Well, you..."



Feminism is a word with a definition. This part is for once a dichotomy - you want equality or you don't. Feminism also has a variety of connotations which are blurry and grey but feminism can be approached in a variety of ways. The term, however, clearly means that if you want equality then you are feminist. You don't have to love the term for it to be correct.

We can disagree on different aspects of feminism or what equality means, but the fact that we "stand for it" makes us feminist.

Also, I don't find it wise to dismiss a person because of their status or perceived beauty. Emma Watson has done and continues to do great work towards achieving equality through her role in the UN.


message 15: by Kerry (new)

Kerry Taylor dani wrote: "Kerry wrote: "She was horrible. I knew that she would be, my five-year-old is a better actress than her. Really, couldn't Disney get anyone else? She was so flat-lined and I kept thinking are you t..."
I've never seen Harry Potter, but I have seen a couple of movies that she's been in, therefore I was suspecting that she was going to be flat-lined from the start. Maybe that was the issue, I didn't expect much and she didn't fail to surprise me. I just read the critics. I always read them after and they stated the same thing about her performance. The special effects were a letdown and not believable like the animation. Not sure why - just little things, in the original they were deemed as eccentric and lived out of town. The movie, they live in the center of town and are still deemed as eccentric, but then it's like you are told it rather than get to see it for yourself like the animation. Some people walked out and one girl behind me, said thank goodness it's all over. But some people clapped, there were mixed feelings in the theater.


message 16: by Nono (new)

Nono I'm not a big fan of Beauty & the Beast, but it's good to see Emma Watson again. she's a good woman!!


Marie -The Reading Otter They ruined my favorite Disney princess dress for the movie. It looks nothing at all like the cartoon. It makes me sad inside.


message 18: by Net (new)

Net The word Feminism in modern times seems to mean 'woman over men'. However, it means equality between the genders. I think Beauty and the Beast shows that beautifully by showing a lectured woman who stands up against a man who oppresses her growth.

I love Emma Watson for her fight for equality and her wonderful acting. I join her fight every day by letting my opinions known and going after my rights as a woman and a human being. Do what you can for your own equality and that of the people that surround you! Lift the people around you up!


message 19: by M.A. (last edited Mar 17, 2017 02:52PM) (new)

M.A. Nichols I'm not sure what this article is talking about. Belle in the cartoon was a reader, but she reads things like Jack and the Beanstalk and fairy tale romances, which have anything in common with any of the books on that list. In the extended version, she also reads "Romeo and Juliet", which isn't exactly feminist literature.


message 20: by Andrea (new)

Andrea Jozzie wrote: "Also, I don't find it wise to dismiss a person because of their status or perceived beauty. Emma Watson has done and continues to do great work towards achieving equality through her role in the UN."

I don't want to come across as dismissive, but what has Emma or UN done to bring equality to women around the world? I find that all of these "efforts" are just a lot of speeches and patting each other on the back. Talking and doing are two different things, so how are the organization and the spokesperson physically making a difference to you and me? Similarly, after decades of talking about issues in Africa and billions of dollars in fundraising, what has actually changed there? Call me a cynic, but Emma comes across as a PR machine for powerful organizations.


message 21: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Keddie M.A. wrote: "I'm not sure what this article is talking about. Belle in the cartoon was a reader, but she reads things like Jack and the Beanstalk and fairy tale romances, which have anything in common with any ..."
The funny thing is, we never knew what she read once she had access to the castle library. All we knew was that she resumed a child's lessons in literacy (Adam would have been eleven, theoretically, when he was cursed) and continued to have engaging conversations with him that allowed her more freedoms in the castle. In the movie, she had to choose from a horribly limited library where Romeo and Juliet was one of possibly eight books. Romeo and Juliet, from a literature standpoint, features a masculine female lead that is set in a time when young women would have been happy to have acquired the better marriage in Paris! Please look into R&J from a character analysis PoV, and you will see that Juliet wanted the same rights as a boy to choose her mate.


message 22: by Erin (new)

Erin O'Roark Derpa wrote: "Maybe she shouldn't try to tell people who refuse to call themselves feminists that they are?? I have no idea why that is an okay thing to force on people.
You believe in a higher force? Well, you..."


THANK YOU!!!!!!

THAAAAAANK YOUUUUUUUUU


message 23: by M.A. (last edited Mar 17, 2017 04:19PM) (new)

M.A. Nichols Elizabeth wrote: "M.A. wrote: "I'm not sure what this article is talking about. Belle in the cartoon was a reader, but she reads things like Jack and the Beanstalk and fairy tale romances, which have anything in com..."

First, I think you're taking this way too seriously. I was simply pointing out that Belle's reading choices as portrayed in the cartoon aren't in line with what Emma Watson reads. Belle was a voracious reader, but being a bookworm doesn't mean she's into the type of books listed. Second, the Romeo and Juliet was read inside the castle, not in the limited town bookstore. Of all the books in that massive room, she picked up that play. A schmaltzy romance. Third, I have to absolutely disagree with you about the character analysis. Glancing over the fact that you're saying Juliet is a feminist character because she's "masculine", Romeo and Juliet is little more than a soap opera. Though beautifully written, the characters are one dimensional with no development or depth to them. Why people try to put depth into that play when almost any of Shakespeares' others have more literary weight is beyond me.


message 24: by Sarina (new)

Sarina Derpa wrote: "Maybe she shouldn't try to tell people who refuse to call themselves feminists that they are?? I have no idea why that is an okay thing to force on people.
You believe in a higher force? Well, you..."


That is an interesting thought. The want for "equality" isn't restricted to gender equality. The word "equality" is also used for the want of racial equality and equality for people with different sexual orientations. I feel like Watson's quote could have been stated in a better way so that it specified gender equality and maybe be a bit kinder because it is not her place to tell you who you are. I myself identify as a feminist, but that word in itself is a fluid concept. My definition of "feminist" is not the same definition as your definition of "feminist."


Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* While the feminist discussion is interesting, I don't have more respect for her role in a movie because of her personal beliefs. The best actress skill that fits the role should be chosen, and I think Disney went the wrong way with this. She's not an awful actress, but for a lead role and a Disney character she's too one-dimensional.


message 26: by Belle (new)

Belle Blackburn Belle IS on Facebook. ;)


message 27: by Rowan (last edited Mar 17, 2017 05:31PM) (new)

Rowan I think she's a fine actress, but she simply wasn't for the part. From the dress that she designed (that has glue on glitter, what the heck?), to her very very autotuned voice in the soundtrack, to her insistence on not wearing a corset because she doesn't know what a corset was for & thinks it was to restrict women. She's all around very bad for the part.

For Belle, you need an actress who can sing. Emma can't. For 18th century France, you need corsets. And the corsets of the time weren't there to restrict you. They were there to support your back as you worked. For the dress, she should have kept her mouth shut and let the designer create a dress. She's going to ruin Jacqueline Durran's career.

I feel like this whole casting is bad. I'm really disappointed.

Anyway, Emma Watson's viewpoint on feminism is one dimensional at best. I don't celebrate her as a feminist. I think she's a rich, silly woman who is so divided from the struggles of working class women that any words she says towards the equality of genders is nonsense. She has no clue about anything. I'm not shocked that her bookshelf has transphobic authors and racists on it.


message 28: by Inés (new)

Inés Renata wrote: "I think she's a fine actress, but she simply wasn't for the part. From the dress that she designed (that has glue on glitter, what the heck?), to her very very autotuned voice in the soundtrack, to..."

I couldn't have said it better


message 29: by amelia (new)

amelia thinly-veiled propaganda is still propaganda


message 30: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Derpa wrote: "Maybe she shouldn't try to tell people who refuse to call themselves feminists that they are?? I have no idea why that is an okay thing to force on people.
You believe in a higher force? Well, you..."


Agreed.


message 31: by Rowan (new)

Rowan As for the comment on who should have been cast, I think perhaps someone who can sing? Leighton Meester. Marion Cotillard. Emmy Rossum. Or go out and cast someone who's unknown, like they did with Auli'i Cravalho. I don't know why they went with Emma Watson, besides wanting to headline her name. That being said, I really wish they'd have dubbed her singing instead of autotuning it to hell and back.


message 32: by Aria (new)

Aria I watched the old one a long time ago and yesterday i watched the new one. I love it, Emma is great. The cast, the musical is great. I come to theater because i want to see the new one. Never in my mind to compare it to the old one.

I think people who critics this movie because they have their own idea already how the movie should do, the only reason why i can enjoy this movie so much because i don't expect anything.

*Sorry for my bad english, it's not my first language*


message 33: by Jill (new)

Jill Deschuytter I can't wait to see the movie. I already love the animated version and for me Emma Watson is a perfect Belle. I've seen some clips and the trailer and I'm excited. It looks good!


message 34: by Bella (new)

Bella Twilight I really really enjoyed the movie. Yes there is a bit of whirlwind at times ( one song or big moment after another without a point to rest and enjoy) but overall worth it


message 35: by Swapna (new)

Swapna Rajput this is a classic all time story. lovely to know emma and her love for books


message 36: by Sam (new)

Sam Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder* wrote: "I know she's a book lover, but I wasn't crazy about this actress for this particular part."

I feel the exact same way! Don't know why, and I'm usually not too keen on judging an actress/actor before I even see them in character but I just don't see Belle when I look at her. Time will tell. Truthfully I am terrified that they have ruined Beauty and the Beast. How can you come close or top the original?


message 37: by Sam (new)

Sam Renata wrote: "As for the comment on who should have been cast, I think perhaps someone who can sing? Leighton Meester. Marion Cotillard. Emmy Rossum. Or go out and cast someone who's unknown, like they did with ..."

Lily Collins would have been great. She just looks and sounds like a princess and at the same time has a scrappy side like Belle. Plus she has a beautiful voice.


message 38: by Sam (new)

Sam Renata wrote: "I think she's a fine actress, but she simply wasn't for the part. From the dress that she designed (that has glue on glitter, what the heck?), to her very very autotuned voice in the soundtrack, to..."

Good golly.....she put glitter on her dress? Wtf.


message 39: by Matty-Swytla (new)

Matty-Swytla I'm sick and tired of so-called 'feminist' actressess putting politics where they don't belong. You're acting in a fairy-tale not a bio about the suffragettes, for crying out loud! And feminism implies with its very name it's focused on women, not all people. Denounce FGM, honour killings, not cry about not being paid enough millions for acting a part in some movie. Why not ask for more money for the behind-the-sceens people; like seamstresses, make-up artists, and so forth. For the people bringing food to the cast, setting up the scenes... when that is handled, then you can start moaning about your own damn payment, Emma Watson. Honestly, why couldn't Disney cast an unknown talent?

Speaking of Disney - why don't they try their hand at some obscure fairy tales? Fairy tales from other places in the world; like African, Asian, Latin American fairy tales. You know, tales the majority of the world doesn't really know but which could have an international appeal? That would be true diversity, if they are into it. Stop ruining the classics.


message 40: by Rowan (new)

Rowan Sam wrote: "Renata wrote: "I think she's a fine actress, but she simply wasn't for the part. From the dress that she designed (that has glue on glitter, what the heck?), to her very very autotuned voice in the..."

Yep, they glued glitter on there like a clearance rack prom dress.



And Lilly Collins would have been a lovely Belle. I think her singing talent would have been much better applied. I regret them not choosing an unknown talent, though. :/


message 41: by Silje (last edited Mar 18, 2017 07:10AM) (new)

Silje I think the movie was wonderful.
Both the old and the new movie are based on the same fairytale, but the interpretations of the story are different, making them similar, not the same. In other words; the new one is NOT supposed to be a clone of the Disney version, therefore giving criticism based on lack of likeness is pointless. Did you who criticized the movie based on this (different dress, tones in the songs, did cartoon Belle wear a corset btw?) criticize Cinderella or Maleficent as well?

The new movie gives a lot of the characters more depth and background information (Gaston's wartime, Belle's mother, The Beast's childhood, Lefoue's personality). In addition, there is also much more humor, sarcasm and fun moments (maybe a bit too much at times).

Personally, I think that it's great having a cast that can't sing perfectly (Gerard Butler can't sing perfectly either, but man what an Operaghost he was!) They sing more than adequatly, and it makes the characters more normal, more real. The songs have been slightly changed to accomodate this and it's better to do that than force them to sing it exactly the same, because it will never be the same as the original. Adding new songs as well kind of hammers that point in; they are not the same!

Anyway, my point is; same story, different interpretations = different movies. Trying to just make a copy of the cartoon movie would probably have given a bad result, but at least then people could have criticized all they wanted and have the basis to do it...
All in all, please try to see the new movie as a new version of the story and not the old Disney movie. If you still think it's bad, feel free to do so=)

When it comes to criticizing Emma Watson: If you have knowledge about the subjects and politics, criticize away, but be professional about it. If you don't, just don't. And if you haven't actually met her in person, you don't really have any right to judge her personality either...But that's just my opinion....


message 42: by Kiwi_^^ (new)

Kiwi_^^ Can't wait for tmr! Watching it at Orchard... Is it spelt this way? >^<


message 43: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Calvin Anne wrote: "Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder* wrote: "I know she's a book lover, but I wasn't crazy about this actress for this particular part."

Just out of curiosity, but who would you have chosen for the part? I..."


I think you will be pleasantly surprised by Emma's performance. She is not a heavy hitter like Audra McDonald (obviously), but she holds her own. (Okay, no more...I don't want to spoil it for you.) =-)


ZARIA (Sheldon Cooper lover) Renata wrote: "As for the comment on who should have been cast, I think perhaps someone who can sing? Leighton Meester. Marion Cotillard. Emmy Rossum. Or go out and cast someone who's unknown, like they did with ..."

I agree with you, Emmy Rossum or Leighton Meester would be perfect playing Belle!
We can't always get what we want ***sigh*** ...


message 45: by Carrie (new)

Carrie Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder* wrote: "I know she's a book lover, but I wasn't crazy about this actress for this particular part."

Really? I couldn't picture anyone else in the role.


message 46: by Cal (new)

Cal (Cal's Reading Corner) Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder* wrote: "I know she's a book lover, but I wasn't crazy about this actress for this particular part."

I know how you feel


message 47: by Cal (new)

Cal (Cal's Reading Corner) Maryame wrote: "When people around the entire freaking globe are enjoying this movie, and I have to sit here and wait for the damn blue ray to be released because I live in a country where we don't have a freaking..."

wow seriously???? :(


message 48: by Jayce (last edited Mar 18, 2017 02:14PM) (new)

Jayce I highly recommend Our Shared Shelf to anyone that hasn't joined. I've learned so much from the experience, (admittedly, I'm a bit biased, as it's the only Goodreads book club I am a part of :-D) It's the largest book club on Goodreads, and this blog post explains why.


message 49: by Derek (new)

Derek The movie truly captures the feel of the story, and all the meaning of the original. Great actors/actresses and performances. Most importantly, the film makes you feel for the characters. Isn't that what matters?


message 50: by Amy (new)

Amy Honestly Emma Watson was the weakest part of the movie IMO. Also add me to the list of those who would like random actresses to stop telling me I'm a feminist. I made an active decision to stop identifying as a such when misandrists became louder than everyone else.


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