'Gay' character in Beauty and the Beast is just comic relief, says reviewer

Luke Evans (R) stars as Gaston and Josh Gad as LeFou (L) in Disney's Beauty and the Beast.
PHOTO: Laurie Sparham, Walt Disney Studios

"Blink and you'll miss it".

That is essentially what movie reviewer Jonathan Roberts had to say about the controversial 'gay' character in Disney movie Beauty and the Beast that has gotten some people in Singapore, Malaysia and parts of the United States all riled up.

Roberts, who is the digital editor at The New Paper, referred to the character LeFou - the sidekick to antagonist Gaston in the movie - as "just the comic relief", "a silliness...not a world away from the 1991 cartoon version".

Lefou is Disney's first gay character and has sparked huge controversy across the world.

"To call it a moment is like calling a minnow a whale. Blink and you will miss it," he wrote. "He is a sycophant. But at no point does he say he loves the guy."

As for the 'gay moment', it was just "essentially a smile", wrote the reviewer.

Read also: Disney says no to Beauty and the Beast cuts in Malaysia

But this has not stopped church councils here from issuing statements regarding the movie's "homosexual content".

The National Council of Churches Singapore (NCCS) said on Tuesday (March 14) that having a "gay moment" in Disney's live-action remake of Beauty And The Beast is "totally unnecessary".

As NCCS issued a letter to pastors and church leaders before the film's opening in Singapore cinemas on Thursday, it said: "Some Christian leaders here are deeply concerned about the LGBT representation in this new Disney movie. They see this as an attempt to influence young children and socialise them at an early age into thinking that the homosexual lifestyle is normal."

Noting that this is the first time an explicitly gay character is introduced in a Disney big-screen production. NCSS said the LeFou character "signals a marked departure from the original 1991 classic".

The Roman Catholic Church of Singapore also issued a statement to parents, urging them to "discern and reflect with their children on whether the lifestyle portrayed is consonant with the teaching of Christ".

"They must explain the implications and the consequences of such a lifestyle for themselves and society," said the statement from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore.

While giving it a PG rating, Singapore censors noted that the movie contains "some intense sequences", which show moderate violence.

Starring Emma Watson as young Belle who falls in love with a beast, the movie will begin its worldwide roll-out on Thursday (March 16).

chenj@sph.com.sg

'Beauty and the Beast' premieres in China

  • The cast of new Disney film Beauty and the Beast have arrived in Shanghai to promote the movie ahead of its release.
  • Popular celebrities Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Kevin Kline and Josh Gad met fans at Shanghai Disney Resort
  • In the film, Belle, played by Emma Watson, is taken prisoner by a fearsome Beast, performed by Dan Stevens, in his magical castle in exchange for the freedom of her father Maurice.
  • Despite her fears, Belle learns to accept this and befriends many characters in the castle.
  • Little by little, she manages to look beyond the Beast's exterior to recognise the true heart and soul of the human prince.


Read also: Beauty and the Beast features Disney's first gay character

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