Ernest and Celestine
Directed by Stephane Aubier and Vincent Patar
Adapted from the Belgian book series by Gabrielle Vincent
My Rating: 5 Stars
MPAA Rating: PG for some scary moments
Cast: Forest Whitaker, Mackenzie Foy, Lauren Bacall, Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally, Paul Giamatti, William H. Macy, Jeffrey Wright
Deep below snowy, cobblestone streets, tucked away in networks of winding subterranean tunnels, lives a civilization of hardworking mice, terrified of the bears who live above ground. Unlike her fellow mice, Celestine is an artist and a dreamer – and when she nearly ends up as breakfast for ursine troubadour Ernest, the two form an unlikely bond. But it isn’t long before their friendship is put on trial by their respective bear-fearing and mice-eating communities.
Ernest and Celestine is quite possibly the cutest movie I’ve seen. Ever. Period.
The story follows a mouse and a bear who, under strange and coincidental circumstances, meet, help each other out (committing crimes), evade the police and become best friends while hiding out in the forest. Nothing too complicated, but what results is a movie that is adorable, heartwarming, and gorgeously animated.
Celestine is a mouse, and her whole life, she’s been taught that bears are vicious, terrifying, and will eat any mouse they see. She lives underground in a city inhabited by surprisingly technological mice. She is currently working to become a dentist, though she would much rather be an artist, and therefore has to steal teeth from the bears who live in the city above ground. But one night she gets caught, and narrowly escapes. On her way home, she helps out a starving bear named Ernest break into a candy store so he can have something to eat. In return, he helps her steal teeth from a dentist across the street. Eventually the police catch wind of this, capture Ernest, only to be thwarted when Celestine frees him. She follows him to his house in the woods and refuses to leave. The two soon become fast friends.
I adored this movie. The art looks like frame after frame of adorable water-color pictures from a children’s book. The story is, in fact, adapted from a children’s book.
The result is absolutely charming. The soundtrack is full of that French music you expect to hear on a beautiful night in Paris: accordion, piano…violin maybe. Whatever that genre is, I want it played at my funeral. It’s so calm and inviting and delightful. It only adds to the whimsy.
There’s not even much more to say other than I cannot recommend watching this movie enough. It will leave you with a smile on your face. The script, while dealing with a social issue (prejudice) isn’t heavy-handed, rather playing to the sweetness of the story and the friendship rather than hitting us over the head with an agenda. So if you’re looking for an incredibly pleasant, charming, lovely movie for a Saturday afternoon to accompany a steaming cup of tea, you can’t go wrong with Ernest and Celestine.