Starring: Lambert Wilson, Pauline Brunner, Patrice Melennec
Director: Stéphanie Aubier, Vincent Patar, Benjamin Renner
Running Time: 80 mins
Ernest & Celestine is a French film about the unlikely friendship that grows between Ernest, a bear, and Celestine, a mouse, both of whom find comfort in each other through their common struggles.
What a lovely film this is. A delight for all to see, it’s a joyful and entertaining tale of unlikely friendship, uniquely mixed in with a Bonnie and Clyde-esque story. With wonderful and cute animation, huge imagination, and delightful voice performances, Ernest & Celestine is a real treat.
Ernest & Celestine doesn’t have the emotional power or drama of so many of its modern animation counterparts, but you’ll forgo the need for that when you see just how wonderful an experience watching this film is. It’s very light and easy-going, and that makes it a perfect watch for both kids and adults.
However, this is better than a simply nice film, and a lot of that is down to its story. Playing out in very similar fashion to a Studio Ghibli movie, with boundless imagination and therapeutically relaxed pacing and drama, Ernest & Celestine is still a very engaging watch, as we see the bond between the bear and the mouse grow strong.
Fortunately, there are no allusions to romance in the film, something I feared would have hurt it significantly, but the way in which the two come together and immediately accept one another, despite their differences, is wonderful to see; something made even more delightful as their friendship is contrasted with the brutal rivalry and fear between the bears and the mice of this fictional world.
And along with the cute friendship that feels like it’s out of your favourite childhood storybook is the unexpected crime story. In keeping with the film’s light atmosphere, it’s not a thrilling nor dark crime plot, but we see Ernest & Celestine effectively taking on the roles of fugitives, wanted by their respective species’ police departments, giving the film an extra level of intrigue and enjoyment, something I was pleasantly surprised to see.
In the end, though, the one thing that really makes this film is its animation. Its simplicity is adorable from the outset, and it goes a long way to making this such a relaxing and happy film, but it’s also a visual style that we just don’t see enough nowadays. It’s not traditional Disney animation, nor is it Ghibli-esque. Instead, this film has a delightfully unique, fresh and basic animation style that makes it so appealing from start to finish, and that’s why Ernest & Celestine gets a 7.7 from me.