Because she is not a real princess. Period.
OK, OK; let me explain it:
Belle is not the typical, normal, princess from the Golden Age Disney had some decades ago. She is not the forever waiting princess that needs to be saved by a Prince. I think she was the first Princess to: 1) not be a real Princess (she was a peasant) and 2) in fact, save the Prince herself.
What I want to say is… I adore her because she was not “as she should be” for the time she was born.
The first song we listen to in the movie talks about how weird Belle is, because she is always reading books and wandering her mind daydreaming. I kind of feel related to that *cough* but it is the first hint to let us know how different she is, because she prefers to be intellectual. And that is not a common choice, not even nowadays, whatever the sex of the person is. She prefers to know about the world, to travel and to have different points of view. She prefers to learn, not to live a boring, miserable life.
And we meet Gaston, who is such a horrible person, and she doesn’t get blind because of her handsomeness. She knows how he is and tries to get away from him. All the girls in the town are in love with his “attributes”, but not her, because she knows the truth.
And, then, Belle meets the Beast. And she has the courage to exchange herself for her father, to be in the castle because she wants to. It is her choice, the Beast does never force her to stay there (OK, maybe the situation is forcing her indirectly, but you get the point).
When she stays in the castle, she has no problem talking to the Beast as he is just another person, she is not afraid of his appearance… When the Beast fights against the wolves, Belle takes care of him and nag him for being such a whiny “monster”. She fights to meet the real Prince under the Beast.
Belle shows a resolutive personality, she fights for what she thinks is right, she chooses to learn before judging. She can live by her own, but she chooses to be with those in need of help, like her father and, later, the Beast. Because she has already helped herself before, and we know it by seeing her strength.
In fact, she is so strong that, as I said before, she saves the Beast. And not just by “falling in love” and all those pretty things, but… by falling in love? Their love (even though it is STUPIDLY quick) is created step by step. It is not just a matter of beauty, but a process of knowing each other. And by knowing each other, Belle understands he is suffering, he indeed has feelings, and he is the one who needs to be saved. And so she does, because it is the right path (And because she is in love with him, I know, I know…).
I love Beauty and the Beast because it is not the typical Disney movie full of princesses and castles… even though it is a Disney movie full of princesses and castles. But the characters are as real as they can be, and even being real, they don’t loose a drop of fantasy and essence of fairy tales. They let us know that it is OK to need help, it is OK to help others, and only by knowing each others it is that we can fall in love. Because to love is to care.
And now… I am off to the cinema!! Let the movie begin!!
Tale as old as time…
PS: The Beast will ALWAYS be more handsome than his “Prince” version.