Belle (Emma Watson) lives in a small town in France with her loving father, Maurice (Kevin Kline). He leaves on a trip to the market and when his horse comes back without him, Belle goes looking for him. The horse leads her to an enchanted castle, where Belle finds Maurice imprisoned in a tower by The Beast (Dan Stevens). She offers herself as a prisoner in exchange for her father's release.
The Beast was once a vain, arrogant and handsome prince until an Enchantress cast a spell on him. The Enchantress leaves a rose in a glass case, telling him that when the last petal falls, if he has not found someone to love him, he'll remain a Beast forever, and his servants will become inanimate objects without personalities.
Belle finds to her amazement that the household objects in the castle are alive, and can talk. They wonder if she's "the one" and tell her the Beast is not as terrible as he appears. She slowly gets to know his softer side, just as the townsfolk are preparing to rescue her.