March 27, 2014 – By Anita C. Wang and Sara Barton
Every night, Didier Brunner, French film producer of The Triplets of Belleville (2003), would read, Ernest and Celestine, (a popular children book series written and illustrated by Gabrielle Vincent), to his daughter Pauline. Each time the story ended, Didier was left wondering how this mouse and bear met since it’s never explained in the books. In 2008, Didier took matters into his own hands and acquired the rights to Ernest and Celestine, from Gabrielle Vincent’s publisher. Thus, the animated feature film, “Ernest and Celestine”, was created to answer that lingering question.
Once the rights to Ernest and Celestine were secured, Brunner also needed the right talents to make his dream project come true. He personally handpicked all the creative talents to ensure that, Ernest and Celestine would remain true its roots. Its screenplay, adapted by, famous French writer, Daniel Pennac, expands on the world of Ernest and Celestine creating an enchanting backstory.
The story unfolds with perfect pacing showing how the friendship between Celestine and Ernest developed. Raised in a society where it’s frowned upon for bears and mice to socialize with each other. A mouse, Celestine, and a bear, Ernest, are brought together by a unique set of circumstances. Celestine, a budding artist, and Ernest, a street performer, create a bond through shared creativity; forming a strong friendship that lasts a lifetime.
The animation is beautiful and fitting of the original book series, as it showcases the signature watercolor style backgrounds. From start to finish, the movie is a perfect love letter to the book series. It leaves the audience an ending that in fact feels like a new beginning; as Ernest and Celestine pay homage to their creator, Gabrielle Vincent, when they sit down and begin to write their origin story.
Now making its second debut in theaters, the Oscar-nominated, Ernest and Celestine has been dubbed in English and it sounds flawless. Forrest Whitaker and Mackenzie Foy, give a heartfelt performance, as Ernest and Celestine. Lauren Bacall is perfect and frightening as The Grey One.
What started as a question by Didier Brunner has grown into an animated feature that gives us an answer, which is satisfying as it leaves both children and adults smiling in their seats.
Edited by: Sara Barton