Review: Ernest & Celestine

Not concerning itself with ADD-levels of hyper-humour (e.g. The LEGO Movie), catchy show tunes (e.g. Frozen) or a story where the fate of the world hangs in the balance (e.g. How to Train Your Dragon 2), this family-friendly heart-warmer combines old-fashioned storytelling with eye-soothing watercolour imagery. It’s a welcomed alternative to chaotic kid-centric blockbusters, channelling the spirit of humble animated greats My Neighbour Totoro and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.

The English audio track on this French production is flawlessly done. Forest Whitaker’s growly yet lethargic voice is spot-on as Ernest, a loveable grump of a bear whose lack of money and friends has left him lonely and busking for spare change. He happens upon fellow outcast Celestine, the only mouse in her community who believes bears and mice can be friends. Through their bond, themes of economic desperation and social discrimination are touched upon, but the story is told with such elegance that it makes these rather complex themes feel straightforward and understandable to anyone.

Different moments in Ernest & Celestine will prove more-or-less memorable to you – depending on your age. It could be a modest gag that sees Ernest chasing birds away from his breadcrumb breakfast; a clever commentary on cutthroat business models via a father who sells teeth-rotting candy to enrich his wife’s dentistry career; or the joyous chase scene that depicts police mice as one amorphous wave. Yet the most beautiful moment in the film will likely stay in everyone’s mind: a simple, loving embrace that removes the background and leaves the characters in each other’s arms.

‘Ernest & Celestine’ Movie Times