Bear meets mouse in the lovely, charming “Ernest & Celestine,” based on the series of popular children’s books by Gabrielle Vincent. Oscar-nominated for best animated feature last year. A French-Belgian co-production, “E&C”’s animation works with the liquescent beauty of watercolor painting while keeping the amiable mismatched-pal animal ruckus in forward motion. Bears live aboveground and mice in their own subterranean city, each species going about everyday tasks as if they were larger or smaller humans. As directed by Stéphane Aubier and Vincent Patar (“A Town Called Panic”) and Benjamin Renner and adapted by novelist Daniel Pennac, the animals’ small world breathes with the kind of detail its ideal audience—clever tots—live in in their own fantasy world. The amiable score is by jazz cellist Vincent Courtois. With the voices of Forest Whitaker, Mackenzie Foy, Lauren Bacall, Paul Giamatti, William H. Macy, Megan Mullally, Nick Offerman, Jeffrey Wright. 79m. (Ray Pride)
“Ernest & Celestine” opens Friday, April 4 at the Music Box. The U. S. trailer is below.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His multimedia history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” will be published later this year.