Disney's live-action Beauty and the Beast remake is a pretty faithful retelling of the original animated classic, but there are a few new wrinkles here and there. Many of the changes seem to be in effort to plug up plot holes that became more and more distracting as everyone wore out their VHS tapes with numerous rewatches. Glaring inconsitencies like "How did Belle get Beast up on that horse after the wolf attack?" and "Shouldn't the townspeople recall a huge castle near their village?" are smoothed over in the new movie in smart ways.
Many of the plot holes are filled in with the new prologue, in which we see definitively that Beast was not in fact 11 years old when the Enchantress cursed him (as the original cartoon implied). In addition to hexing the adult prince, the Enchantress also uses her magic to ensure that nobody in the village remembers the castle or anyone inside it.
That's a pretty substantial spell, but as Reddit user Hainted has suggested, that magic might be even more powerful than we realize. There are many clues that point the possibility that almost everyone in the movie is stuck in a timeloop, which began when the curse was first enacted.
Before we dive headfirst into this wild but convincing theory, let's go over what we already know about the curse. We know that everyone in the castle was transformed into household objects (with the exception of one beefcake beastman); we know that the curse has been torturing its victims for "years," according to multiple characters; and most importantly, we know that nobody in the castle ages at all. That last bit might be the most important, since it lends to the idea that nearly every character we meet is under a "Groundhog Day"-like spell.
How do we know nobody ages? Well, take Chip, for instance. You remember him.
At the outset of the movie, we see what everyone looked like in their pre-curse forms. We don't see them as humans until the end of the movie -- again, years have passed -- but Chip is still the same young boy he always was.
Apparently you don't have to be transformed into a teacup with a horrific gash in your head to achieve immortality, because none of the people in the village age either. Think about it. When everyone is reunited at the end, it's not like there's some huge age gap between the re-humanized servants and the townsfolk they left behind.
That brings us to Belle. According to the theory, she and her father Maurice are the only ones not trapped in the timeloop. That makes a sense, given that it seems as though the two of them moved to the village after the curse was cast. It must feel pretty odd to be the only one who notices that everyone is doing the exact same thing every day. Keeping this in mind while Belle sings her first song brings a whole new meaning to the lyrics.
You'll probably recognize the first two lines of the impossibly catchy song that has already burrowed into your brain: "Little town, it's a quiet village/Every day like the one before." Yes, on a surface level, it's about the banality of small-town life and its boring, inescapable routines that make living feel like riding a merry-go-round made of cinder blocks and depression. But what if Belle sees "every morning just the same" because she's literally seeing the same morning play out over and over again? That would explain why she's able to wander through town and announce everything that is happening in the village without looking, like Bill Murray predicting a waiter dropping a stack of flapjacks in a diner.
Wouldn't Belle notice if the same thing was happening every single day? Probably, but it doesn't seem likely that the timeloop is repeating the same 24 hours -- more like the same week, or the same month. It is remarked on how odd it is for it to be snowing in June around the castle...
This would also explain why Gaston at one point mentions searching for Maurice for "five days." The magic rose's petals seem to start peeling off at a rapid clip during that whole montage, so it could be that much more than a week actually passes during that sequence, but nobody really realizes it.
Looking back, if Belle and Maurice were unaffected by the timeloops, it would explain a lot about what the townsfolk think of them. If you're anything like me and have had this song stuck in your head for the last 48 hours, you'll remember what I'm talking about.
The village sees Belle and Maurice as weirdos not only because of their high-falootin' book-readin', but also because part of them knows that Belle isn't supposed to be there. They can't put their finger on it, but something in them senses that the most attractive person they've ever seen might not be on their same wavelength.
Later we learn that all this time, the Enchantress was living incognito in the very village that she cursed -- probably to keep an eye on how everything plays out and keep everyone in the dark. I guess she didn't have a problem finding lodgings for the night after all.
What do you think? Is the timeloop an unspoken part of the curse that ties everything together? Or is someone just making stuff up on the internet? I'll accept any answer as long as it breaks the timeloop in my head that's constantly playing Disney music.
Tristan Cooper can be found singing the LeFou parts of Gaston's song on Twitter.