While I haven’t actually counted, I would venture to guess nearly all reviews for the 2012 French-Belgian animated film Ernest and Celestine prominently feature the word “charming” simply because no other word quite hits the mark. This movie is very charming indeed, and it owes this charm, in part at least, to old school roots. You’ll find no computer animation here. Ernest and Celestine possesses the kind of hand drawn warmth that remains beyond the reach of computers. You won’t find a lot of double entendres either. While I typically enjoy the stuff aimed at adults in a Pixar films, it’s kind of refreshing for a change to watch a kids’ movie that forgoes them. In Ernest and Celestine, they would simply be vulgar, and this film is anything but vulgar.
In any event, here are my “three reasons,” Criterion style:
1. The voice acting is very good–Paul Giammati, Forrest Whitaker, and, would you believe, Lauren Bacall.
2. It’s charming. Did I say that already? Sweet without being saccharine.
3. While the points it has to make about intolerance and odd couples are not very original, one has only to turn on the news to see how very much they still (and always will) bear (no pun intended) repeating, especially when done so cleverly and with such panache.
4. The soundtrack is wonderfully done as well. Okay, so that’s four reasons, but who’s counting?