ERNEST AND CELESTINE // For lack of a better term, “Ernest And Celestine” is cute. It is cutely drawn, reviving the hand drawn animation style, the characters are cute, and the voices (in French) are cute. Having made it to a preview screening of this foreign animated film in the theaters, I can easily say that the audience loved it. Adults and children alike were cracking up at the well timed and well drawn jokes throughout the course of this film. As a bear and mouse attempt to be friends in a segregated world where bears live in towns while mice live in the sewer systems below, one lowly mouse named Celestine ventures out to make friends with a bear named Ernest, who plays musical instruments in public to try and make money, but lives off of rummaging through garbages and stealing from local store owners. Eventually Celestine is outcast for bringing Ernest into the mouse village and is forced to stay with Ernest, as the film makes a commentary on the characters accepting one another for who they are rather than what they are.

Living side by side, the comedy comes out of the odd couple situations these characters are placed into and the reactions that are often given to the animals. For instance, one of the biggest laughs I had is when Celestine, trying to teach Ernest a lesson, decides to retreat to the cellar, yet on the way she grabs a spoon of chocolate and points it at him while backing away. Heavy handed with its messages by the end of the film, there is plenty to be said about a film that sticks to its morals and tries to teach the young generation a few lessons. Having seen the sub-titled version in French, the American version can be seen and heard with the voices of high profile actors like Forest Whitaker and Paul Giamatti. At a brisk 80 minutes long and reminiscent of the type of humor you would get from an animated Wes Anderson film (“Fantastic Mr. Fox”), “Ernest And Celestine” is one of the most enjoyable animated features of the year.

[Directed by Stéphane Aubier, Vincent Patar, & Benjamin Renner] [PG] [80 min] [23 November 2013]   08four-stars

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