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





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

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

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?


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
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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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, okay 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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Adult Written bytdickensheets February 16, 2015

I rent it from Netflix

Good movie. I like this movie.
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 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
Kid, 11 years old December 29, 2014

Amazing Family Movie!

This is probably one of my favorite family movies, because it is so sweet and has great themes of freindship and how being different is good (even though at first many of the characters did not realize it). Not only is it an amazing movie, worth seeing if you have kids or not, it has a great soundtrack/music, which is what makes a movie great. There are a few scenes of violence and scariness, one is near the end of the movie when Ernest and Celestine are in different court-rooms because mice and bears are not allowed to be friends. The judges are very scary, and the courthouses catch on fire, making the scene even more scary. SPOILER! After this scene, the judges come to their senses and realize that bears and mice should be allowed to be able to communicate and be able to hang out together. SPOILER OVER! A really great movie, you have to see it!
What other families should know
Great messages


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