Ernest & Celestine

  • Review Date: March 2, 2014
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2014
  • Running Time: 80 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Touching animated story celebrates unlikely friendships.
  • Review Date: March 2, 2014
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2014
  • Running Time: 80 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

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

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
Not applicable
Language

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

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

Parents say

Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

A beautifully hand-drawn feature with a watercolor palette, Ernest & Celestine is an important story about overcoming prejudice and sticking up for your friends -- even if they're unpopular or misunderstood by your community. 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.

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:February 28, 2014
DVD release date:June 17, 2014
Cast:Forest Whitaker, Lauren Bacall, Mackenzie Foy
Directors:Stéphane Aubier, Benjamin Renner, Vincent Patar
Studio:GKIDS
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Cats, dogs, and mice, Friendship, Misfits and underdogs
Run time:80 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:some scary moments

This review of Ernest & Celestine was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 17 years old Written byuplift panic September 2, 2014
AGE
9
QUALITY
 

The best movie I ever seen

What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Adult Written byBestPicture1996 January 15, 2015
AGE
6
QUALITY
 

"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 as expected, it was a quiet but sublime treat. Besides the splendid visuals that reminded me fondly of the type of picture book I would fall in love with and reread as a youth, the message is truly what brings this film home. Though in their respective worlds, Ernest and Celestine are taught that bears and mice are simply the worst, and they would never interact with one another. That is, until Celestine the tiny mouse dares to befriend the bear Ernest, who has a bit of a past with the law. Though some scenes seem a bit like filler, there's still delight to be taken in the minimalist French animation. Your kids should love it, and you'll be smiling there with them.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 16 years old Written bySalsander October 4, 2014
AGE
6
QUALITY
 

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. Though the themes presented don't cover new ground, the easy to understand approach along with impeccable animation makes the film invaluable for children and adults alike. There is a clear class conflict between bears and mice, though Celestine (a mouse) desires to befriend a bear. It does a good job of showing how the perception of other animals (as shown through exaggerated, feigned, and manipulative stories) can mislead us. Though initially frightened of each other, Ernest and Celestine brush away their misconceptions by talking it through. Other themes include the pitfalls of unjust exploitation and staying true to one's lifes goals regardless of what society demands us to be. Aside from the great messages, the characters do misbehave a bit. Ernest and Celestine steal candy from a shop's cellar, a large number of teeth (a wealthy commodity in this society), and even take a shop owner's car while being pursued by the bear police. Though the store owners are questionable morals and the mice are tasked to steal teeth, these actions are a bit hard to justify. There are also some scary (but non-violent) moments and scenes of peril. The stories of the bear told by the mice society might be a bit scary for very young children, but it's not graphic (just a recount that bears like to eat mice). There's also a mildly frightening nightmare sequence (about 30 seconds) where Celestine is trapped in a sea of mice and a spooky voice tells her she shouldn't have befriended a bear (though she wakes up with Ernest to reassure her). A bear shop owner attacks (but fails to hurt) Celestine for intruding. When both societies become aware of the robbery, they angrily chase and track down Ernest and Celestine. While escaping from the mouse society, Ernest accidentally wrecks a few buildings when jumping from house to house while pursued by a swarm of mice police (though nobody is hurt). They are jailed temporarily and a death sentence is implied though never stated (a mouse and bear trap are created). When on trial, the courtroom lights on fire by accident while the judges are phased in a tirade, though Ernest and Celestine save them from the fire. These are the only scary scenes though and the are far and few between. Most of the story revolves around the friendly interaction between Ernest and Celestine. Lastly there is some mild name calling (moron, stupid, dumb), but it's infrequent and mild. A definite recommend for all families, though it might be a little scary for viewers under 6 years old.
What other families should know
Great messages

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