If one were teaching Dharma school to small children, it might be a good idea to show them a children’s movie and then relate it to Buddhist teachings. Here’s something that I’ve thought about.
While Beauty & the Beast might not have been written with Buddhism in mind, there are certain themes that resonate with the Buddha’s teachings.
Gaston is the Three Poisons of anger/hate, lust/greed, and delusion/ignorance, the main obstacles to enlightenment.
The beast, in his outward appearance, is mean and ugly, just like our deluded ego-self in need of the Dharma.
Belle is the wisdom and compassion of the Dharma, teaching us who we really are and have the potential to be.
The wilting rose is the impermanence of life, and our need to make the best of this precious human birth.
In the light of the Dharma, the beast is more and more made to see his true self, the Buddha-nature (the luminous mind) in all beings.
When the beast changes back into human form, he has attained Buddhahood, returning to our original nature (the luminous mind), before we became enslaved to the false ego-self.
The beast’s physical environment changes to a beautiful form as well, just as a Buddha experiences everywhere as a Pure Land, no matter where he goes, due to his purified mind.
It’s also worth noting that, like the beast, the Buddha was a wealthy prince before seeking enlightenment.