LAMBERT WILSON PAULINE BRUNNER
ERNEST et CELESTINE
I saw the French version of this charming animated drama, and found it delightful; not only because of the wonderfully drawn figures, but also because of the message it conveys. It is one thing to say we should be open to those different from us, and another to illustrate just what that entails. (Pun intended some of the characters are mice.)
Celestine is a mouse in school to become a dentist; the problem is she is an artist from her very core, and does not want to be a dentist. In school—and in her entire mouse community—it is a given that mice are supposed to be afraid of the big bad bears. Before she hears about this, Celestine has drawn a bear holding a mouse, and she explains they are friends. Gasps all around.
Ernest is a bear who wakes up in the bear community starving. He runs out of his house, which lacks any provisions, to find something to eat. He is an aspiring musician/story teller, and he tries performing on the street for tips, but no one puts anything in the can. He becomes desperate and starts looking in trashcans, but finds nothing until he comes upon a little mouse asleep in one. Celestine had been thrown into it by the candy store owner when he discovered her in his shop. He pokes at her, and is all poised to eat her on the spot when she uses her considerable talent of persuasion to talk him out of it.
Thereafter, each helps the other out in most interesting ways until they become fast friends. But there are many forces working against that friendship—her school, the mouse community, the bear community—so they have to resort to extreme measures to escape.
There is a parallel story that ties into Ernest and Celestine’s connection. One of the bears owns a candy store, which encourages all the children to come by after school and buy treats, and he is ever so accommodating to his customers. That is because his wife has a tooth store, and when the bears lose their teeth from so much candy, they need replacements.
The extreme measures Ernest and Celestine take serve his sweet tooth and the requirement by her school to collect as many bear teeth as she can to serve as replacements at the dental school.
There is much intrigue, good lessons, and good fun for the viewers in Ernest & Celestine, and I highly recommend it.