Belle by Mamoru Hosoda is a spectacular blend of drama and emotions similar to what we witness in a typical Disney movie. Technically it’s an adventure drama induced with a bit of sci-fiction. Moreover, the music choices in the movie are the best of all time—no wonder the Japanese music industry is shining at its brightest. Not to mention the beauty of the animations and the main character, similar to a typical Disney princess.
Suzu is a shy, ordinary high school student from a small village. She has been a shadow of herself for years. But when she enters “U,” a large virtual world, she transforms into Belle, a stunning and internationally adored singer. A hideous creature pursued by vigilantes interrupts her recital one day. Suzu embarks on an emotional and epic quest to discover the identity of this mystery “beast” and her actual self in a world where anybody may be anyone as their hunt intensifies.
The message of the film is beautiful: integrating our real-life vulnerabilities with the persona we present increases our strength. It’s an exciting sensory experience with profound emotional depths, despite missing a couple of notes in the final act. A modernized version of an old story. Identity and empathy are a gift at times. In addition, from the social and cultural standpoint of today’s teenagers.