Ernest & Celestine

La Parti Productions & Les Armateurs

Written by Daniel Pennac/Directed by Stéphane Aubier, Vincent Patar, & Benjamin Renner/Produced by Didier Brunner, Henri Magalon, & Vincent Tavier/Music by Vincent Courtois/Based on the Book by Gabrielle Vincent

All her life, Celestine has been told that bears and mice can never be friends, that she’d better be careful or she’ll get eaten. Not that she believes everything she hears, headstrong, dreamy little mouse that she is. And when she finds herself rescued from a dangerous predicament by an ornery bear named Ernest, Celestine is even further convinced that friendly relations between mice and bears are definitely possible. However, the improvised friendship between these two is so socially unacceptable by both mouse and bear society that they find themselves wanted criminals. Going into hiding in the country, Ernest and Celestine deepen their friendship and share their passions for art and music–and fun. It’s almost possible to forget the outraged citizens they left behind. . . .

In terms of animated children’s movies, I found Ernest & Celestine to be remarkably fun, original, and cute. The characters are solid, distinct, and interesting–especially spunky, artistic little Celestine and grouchy yet surprisingly sensitive Ernest. The story itself is cute and creative, with some very original ideas (such as dentistry being the mousely ideal)–while still emphasizing universal ideas and experiences. My one real complaint is that the story places the main characters in the position of criminals–and not only for socially unacceptable relations, but also for actual stealing–which isn’t something I’d like to hold as an example for children. Still, that opens good discussion opportunities for involved parents and mentors, I suppose. I absolutely love the focus on the arts that pervades the movie: both the main characters are artists (a painter and a musician), the illustration style is a gorgeous/adorable pen and watercolor that’s just lovely, and the music is delightful throughout. Truly, Ernest & Celestine is a charming, artsy movie for all ages–definitely recommended!

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