The Finest Hours is decidedly old-fashioned. In many ways it takes its storytelling style from the time period in which the film is set, giving us pacing, characters, and performances which feel like they belong back in the early 1950s as if the film itself could have been showing in a theatre in snowy Chatham, Massachusetts on that fateful day in February of 1952. This old-fashioned approach will probably be enough to keep most viewers away, but to me it’s the film’s greatest strength. The film tells a heroic story in an understated way, perfectly matching the modesty of the historic figures involved. That along with a solid cast who really fit with the feel of the time period, some impressive visual effects, and a steady storytelling hand combine to make The Finest Hours a far better and more engaging film than it has any right to be.
It was officially announced last week that Emma Watson will be playing Belle in an upcoming live-action film adaptation of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. It will be a musical using Alan Menken and Howard Ashman’s songs from the animated film (and presumably from the stage version), will be directed by Bill Condon, and is due for release sometime next year. The film was actually announced last summer, but it didn’t really feel real until it had some casting to go along with it. I personally couldn’t be more thrilled about Emma Watson as Belle. I think she’ll bring the right amount of brains and attitude to the Disney Princess role, and I have little doubt that they can get her singing skills up to scratch. But with the film more a reality now than it was two weeks ago, it’s the perfect time to play casting director and fill out the other major roles in the film. Read on for some of my ideas (which may not be particularly original), and then leave a comment to let me know who you’d like to see singing alongside Emma Watson next year.