Story

Ernest and Celestine is a heart-warming animated movie about an unlikely friendship between a mouse and a bear. Celestine (voice of MacKenzie Foy) is a young mouse who lives in the underground world of rodents. She lives in an orphanage, where the caretaker tells the mice bedtime stories of evil bears living above them.

Celestine doubts the stories are real and also struggles with the pressure that all rodents face to study dentistry, because she loves to draw and explore her creative side. In preparation for her studies, Celestine must travel above ground to collect the lost teeth of bear cubs – the mice use these to replace their own teeth if one breaks, so that they can stay active and keep contributing to mouse society.

On one occasion, a family of bears discovers Celestine and chases her into a rubbish bin where she is stuck for the night. In the morning, a kind yet destitute bear named Ernest (Lambert Wilson) finds Celestine and tries to eat her. After Celestine convinces him not to, she and Ernest form an unlikely bond. But they soon face the prejudice and discrimination of others who aren’t so liberal in their thinking.

Themes

Friendship; discrimination and prejudice; identity and independence; poverty and crime

Violence

There is some violence in Ernest and Celestine. For example:

  • Bears chase Celestine and set traps to catch her.
  • Ernest tries to eat Celestine, but she slaps him away and stops him.
  • Celestine tells Ernest that the only way to get her out of his house is to kill her. She describes ways to kill mice, including mouse traps and more.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5

Children in this age group are likely to be scared by the ‘evil’ bears in Ernest and Celestine and the scenes where the mice tell stories about them. They might also be scared by the following scenes:

  • The bears chase Celestine.
  • Ernest almost eats Celestine.
  • A fire endangers characters.  

From 5-8

Children in this age group might be disturbed by the following scenes in Ernest and Celestine:

  • The bears and mice treat Ernest and Celestine badly because of their friendship.
  • Ernest and Celestine are hounded and put on trial. 

From 8-13

Nothing of concern 

Over 13

Nothing of concern 

Sexual references

None of concern 

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

None of concern 

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern 

Product placement

None of concern 

Coarse language

Ernest and Celestine has some insults such as ‘moron’, ‘dumb’ and ‘stupid’ which children might copy. 

Ideas to discuss with your children

Ernest and Celestine is an animated French movie, dubbed in English, that tells a story of friendship, prejudice and discrimination, as well as social change.

Celestine and Ernest form a bond that goes against the rules of both bears and mice. Through their determination and decency, they change people’s minds about values that have been around for decades. They foster a belief that accepting the differences of others is crucial to living harmoniously, and that minimising socioeconomic class divisions is the responsibility of all members of a society.

The movie is likely to open up some interesting discussions for you and your children, but younger children might need help with some scary scenes. They might also need you to explain some parts of the story.

You could talk with your children about:

  • discrimination based on prejudice, and the negative impact it can have on innocent people
  • consequences of criminal activity, and how it often stems from poverty.