Ernest & Celestine

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Ernest & Celestine Movie Poster Image
Touching animated story celebrates unlikely friendships.
  • PG
  • 2014
  • 80 minutes
Parents recommend

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 7 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 4 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational value

The story of the little bear's sneaky candy seller and dentist parents will teach kids to be wary of eating sugar, because it just leads to tooth decay, which only benefits one person: your dentist. The love between Ernest and Celestine will teach kids to look beyond the superficial in starting a friendship.

Positive messages

The movie has a powerful message about friendship transcending superficial differences such as what you look like or what community you come from, and it reinforces the idea that unconditional love and friendship should be defended and treasured. Both characters are artists, which their respective societies don't seem to appreciate, but Ernest and Celestine support each other's artistic ventures. Some families may be uncomfortable at the idea that the central characters have broken their society's rules, not to mention steal and run from the police, but overall, this is a celebration of creating family-like bonds where you least expect them.

Positive role models & representations

Ernest and Celestine are both brave enough to realize that their communities were wrong about the other. They help and protect each other and defend their right to be friends and stay together. They are also kind and compassionate enough to help those who are trying to hurt them. Ernest has no qualms about breaking into a candy shop and eating everything he can find.

Violence & scariness

The first scene involves a mean old mouse lady telling a scary story about a hungry bear to her orphan charges. She makes frightening shadows on the wall as she tells the story, Both the mice and the bear communities get angry, scared, and even violent toward Ernest and Celestine for breaking their rules about fraternizing with the enemy. When a family of bears finds a tiny mouse, they immediately try to grab and kill it and then lay dozens of mouse traps to do the job. The rats ready a huge "bear trap" to punish Ernest if he's found guilty. The police angrily stalk and arrest both of them. Both judges are such in a frenzy, they won't stop yelling even after a fire breaks out that nearly kills them.

Sexy stuff
Language

Occasional but not common insult language like "moron," "dumb," "stupid," "no good," "big bad bear," and more.

Consumerism
Drinking, drugs & smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Ernest & Celestine is a lovely hand-drawn French animated movie about the unlikely friendship between a mouse and a bear. Dubbed in English, the critically acclaimed Oscar-nominated film is the story of finding friendship where you least expect it and defending that friendship against discrimination and prejudice. There is some occasional insult language ("dumb," "moron") and a few scary moments when the two pals are being followed and then put on trial -- as well as a frightening bedtime story about mice-eating bears. A fire nearly kills a few characters, but they're saved at the last minute.

User Reviews

Adult Written byBestPicture1996 January 15, 2015

"Don't you live with a bear?"

Like most if not all who've seen it, I heard about this film when it was the token foreign nomination at the 2013 Oscars. I finally got around to it, and a...
Parent Written byskidoosh January 3, 2016

harsh and unfriendly

We read the other parent reviews on this site and thought we'd give this on a try. We stopped watching after about a half an hour when our 4 year old (who...
Teen, 17 years old Written byuplift panic September 2, 2014
Teen, 16 years old Written bySalsander October 4, 2014

Simple and Cute

The foreign animation "Ernest and Celestine" is a must see for families. Originally voiced in french, the film transitions well from english dubbing....

What's the story?

Based on the popular French picture books by author Gabrielle Vincent, ERNEST & CELESTINE follows a little mouse named Celestine (Mackenzie Foy), who lives in the world below. Despite her orphanage matron's (Lauren Bacall) terrifying nightly tales about the "Big Bad Bear," Celestine imagines there's a sweet bear in the world above. One day, after Celestine is trapped in a trash can in the world above, Ernest (Forest Whitaker), a penniless bear, finds and nearly eats her, but instead they forge an unlikely friendship that upsets both of their communities. After Celestine helps Ernest escape arrest, and Ernest helps Celestine steal teeth badly needed down below, they end up being hounded by both sets of police who want to convict them for their crime of befriending the enemy.

Is it any good?

This is an important story about overcoming prejudice and sticking up for your friends -- even if they're unpopular or misunderstood by your community. Ernest & Celestine is a beautifully hand-drawn feature with a watercolor palette. Of course, many young children will just delight in the story of a tiny and adorable little mouse befriending a troubadour bear who's really, really hungry, but it's always good when a kids' movie has meaningful themes.

Academy-Award winning Whitaker has just the ragged, robust voice for Ernest, a broke and hungry bear that can't catch or find any food until Celestine convinces him not eat her but to dip into a greedy candy seller's reserves. Foy, who is best known for playing Edward and Bella's daughter Renesmee in the final Twilight, has the perfect combination of sweetness and spunk to voice Celestine -- the orphan who dreams of a world where the bears above and the mice below don't have to fear and hate each other but can and do become friends. If only people were as sensible as Ernest and Celestine.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the theme of friendship and what it means to stick up for a friend. What do you think the filmmaker is trying to say about the nature of friendship?

  • What made the judges change their minds about Ernest and Celestine? What characteristics make Ernest and Celestine good role models?

  • Discuss the style of hand-drawn animation. How does it compare to the more popular use of computer-generated animation?

  • This movie is inspired by a series of French children's books. Does the movie make you curious about reading the picture children's books?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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