In the pencil-drawn, Oscar-nominated animated feature Ernest and Celestine, the world is divided into Us and Them: Above ground, the bears, who fear mice; below, the mice, who fear bears. Their lives still have to intersect, however, as the entire rodent society is powered (a la Monsters, Inc.’s harvesting of children’s screams) by bear teeth, forcing child labor to explore the surface and gather dentures.
Celestine, though, doesn’t believe that bears are bad. She draws pictures of them in repose, and fantasizes that they may not be as bad as she’s been told. Enter Ernest, a good-natured bear who strikes up a begrudging friendship with Celestine: He helps her gather teeth, and then both are labeled criminals by the others’ culture.
Charming and predictable, E&C is a great kids’ movie that also has a notable moral: That of accepting others’ differences. Near the end, when Celestine plaintively declares that all she wants is to live with Ernest forever, you’ll get a lump in your throat, confronted with the bravery it takes to express a love not deemed “normal” by society. In light of the movement toward same-sex marriage, it’s a message that really resonates.
Playing at the Angelika Mockingbird Station in English and in French with subtitles at alternate screenings.