There are a whole lot of films I know by heart. Part of that comes from the upbringing, where there was less of a selection and ease of access in the 80’s and you could find yourself rewatching movies easily, just playing VHS tapes in the background as you did other things. I was big on doing things like that, so that I would just listen to the dialogue more and less of the visuals. Of course, it also feels like after seeing Star Wars in theaters over a dozen times that I could pretty much recite the film line by line.
But when it comes to really knowing a film by heart, I find that it’s musicals that are the ones that really drive that idea home. Because of the way it works, the structure of the dialogue and the ease in which music and lyrics can be imprinted upon us, there’s something more natural in knowing these kinds of films in this way. Especially for kids who grow up singing their favorite pieces and end up capturing a whole lot more of it.
For me, that was the 1991 film Beauty and the Beast. I just fell in love with that film when it came out. Enough so that upon getting the cassette tape for the film, it was essentially all the dialogue and the music itself, which had me driving around town to work and other activities singing and reciting right along with it. It’s a film that is, obviously, a tale as old as time, and it hits a lot of very good beats about it as it goes on with some beautiful animation, scoring and lyrics that delivers a wonderful experience. One that I even got to relive this past year as my daughter performed in a Beauty and the Beast Jr. show at school, which once again, even with the few changes to shorten the length of it for kids, many parents could recite by heart without even looking at the script.
This film is just one of those little treasures and joys out there for me, one that does repeatedly warm my heart as well.