Emma Watson: Does Belle Have Stockholm Syndrome?

Beauty and the Beast star Emma Watson debunks this old rumor about the classic fairytale.

Photo by Rob Kim

Anyone who knows the classic story of Beauty and the Beast is aware of the theories many have that suggests the story of Belle and the Beast’s romance is a result of Stockholm Syndrome. This entails victims developing feelings for their kidnapper, and at first thought it seems to make a lot of sense, considering Belle is being held captive by a terrifying beast and slowly begins to fall for him.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Emma Watson addresses the suspicions about her upcoming character in Disney’s live action version of the French romance.

When she initially got the part, Emma did question the concept of Stockholm Syndrome in the story as well, and decided to do some research.

“It’s where a prisoner will take on the characteristics of and fall in love with, in this really strange way, the captor,” Watson explains of the syndrome’s qualities.

Belle, of course, is very unlike the Beast. Watson points out how much Belle constantly bickers against the Beast’s ways.

Watson says Belle falls for the Beast through the friendship they slowly build with each other.

“She has none of the characteristics of someone with Stockholm Syndrome because she keeps her independence…and I think there’s a very intentional switch where, in my mind, Belle decides to stay,” she says.

And this is the version of Belle we will be seeing on-screen on March 17, alongside the Beast, played by Dan Stevens. A Belle that fights back and shows her independence, even as a prisoner.


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