Celestine is a young mouse who lives in an underground city. Taught from birth to fear the town of bears above them, she is instead a dreamer who draws pictures of a life where both species could peacefully co-exist. Similarly Ernest is a bear who sits outside of the norm. Failing to build a successful business like every good bear should, he lives secluded as an unappreciated musician outside of town. The two have a chance encounter, and eventually learn to see into worlds other than their own.
This is a lovely little film. Gentle both in nature and in execution. Ernest & Celestine sports a style that gives the appearance of a painting - those familiar with Studio Ghibli’s My Neighbours the Yamadas are in the right area. Watercolour backgrounds are overlaid with accomplished animation that is loosely lined, and completely charming. Much like Japan, France hasn’t forgotten the charms of a two-dimensional aesthetic. Maybe one day not all the big-name animation companies with stick solely to 3D work, but it’s sadly not going to happen any time soon.
I totally recommend anyone interested in animation check out this film, and it is great to see such titles making it to our shores. What is less encouraging is the lack of Blu-Ray release and the DVD sporting subtitles that cannot be removed. Also the lack of an English language track for a film obviously aimed to include younger viewers is bound to miss out on the bulk of its target audience. Please don’t be discouraged, this is a hidden gem.