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Ernest & Celestine (2012)

Ernest et Célestine (original title)
2:25 | Trailer
The story of an unlikely friendship between a bear, Ernest, and a young mouse named Celestine.


Daniel Pennac (scenario and dialogue), Gabrielle Vincent (after: D'après les albums de)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 14 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Forest Whitaker ... Ernest (voice)
Lambert Wilson ... Ernest (voice)
Pauline Brunner Pauline Brunner ... Célestine (voice)
Mackenzie Foy ... Celestine (voice)
Lauren Bacall ... The Grey One (voice)
Anne-Marie Loop Anne-Marie Loop ... La Grise (voice)
Paul Giamatti ... Rat Judge (voice)
Patrice Melennec Patrice Melennec ... Georges (voice)
William H. Macy ... Head Dentist (voice)
Brigitte Virtudes Brigitte Virtudes ... Lucienne (voice)
Léonard Louf Léonard Louf ... Léon (voice)
Megan Mullally ... Lucienne (voice)
Dominique Maurin Dominique Maurin ... Chef de clinique (voice) (as Dominique Collignon)
Nick Offerman ... George (voice)
Perrette Pradier ... L'infirmière en chef souris (voice)
Learn more

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There is a world where the Bears live above ground in their cities and the rodents live below in their underground ones in mutual fear and hate. However, Celestine, an apprentice mouse dentist, finds at least momentary common cause with Ernest, a poor street Bear musician, that gets them rejected from both their respective worlds. In spite of this misfortune, the exiles find a growing friendship between themselves as their respective talents flower because of it. Despite this, their quietly profound challenge to the founding prejudices of their worlds cannot be ignored as the authorities track them down. When that happens, Ernest and Celestine must stand up for their love in the face of such bigotry and achieve the impossible. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Bonnie and Clyde, Sid and Nancy... (US release)

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some scary moments | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Forest Whitaker voices a character that's a bear. In Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999), his friend is reading a book about bears, and compares Whitaker's titular character to bears. In another scene, he sees two illegal hunters who have killed a black bear, and tells them "In ancient cultures, bears were considered equal with men" before shooting them down. See more »


When the stolen van's camouflage paint job washes off and the van rolls back into town, it leaves a trail of paint that leads the police right to Ernest and Celestine's house. The rain, however, should have washed away the trail of paint, too, and left no way to follow it back. See more »


Célestine: Bear up above and mice down below?
Ernest: Well, yes... it's always been like this.
See more »


References A Town Called Panic (2009) See more »


Ernest's Song
Written by Thomas Fersen and Vincent Courtois
Performed by Lambert Wilson (Original Version)
Performed by Forest Whitaker (English Version)
See more »

User Reviews

Film Review: Ernest & Celestine (★★★½)
26 October 2013 | by ClaytonDavisSee all my reviews

When we all think of animation and the journey it has walked through, naturally we all go to a big studio like Disney to offer up lots of the credit. Rightfully so, the studio paved the way for companies like Dreamworks and Sony Pictures to dip their feet into the animation arena. One of the quiet and brilliant studios that isn't on the lips of everyone yet is the impressive GKIDS. They made heads turn in the 2009- 2010 awards season when they pushed The Secret of Kells and managed a surprise nomination for Best Animated Feature. In 2011-2012, they pulled a one-two punch with Chico & Rita and A Cat in Paris, snagging nominations as well. For my money, they produced the best animated film of last year with Jean-François Laguionie's The Painting and found no wiggle room to get in over Brave and Wreck-It Ralph.

This year, the animation studio is at it again with their captivating French film Ernest & Celestine. Touching all the sweet parts of my cinematic heart, the Daniel Pennac written film tells the story of an unlikely friendship between a grumpy bear and a young mouse. Encompassing the powerful elements of honesty, truth, and acceptance, Pennac's screenplay, once again, fixates on the small details that bring our story full circle and unimaginably to life. It's one of the great surprises of the film year. Pennac is quickly becoming one of my favorite animated film writers working today.

One of the qualities that have made other animation studios so successful over the years is easy application of the child-like story that is being told, into the moment of the now and even the adult world. As life above ground includes Ernest, and a race of bears, they are the dominant power on the Earth. Down below, lives a race of mice, fending for survival, and only going to the world above to collect teeth in preparation to become dentists, which all rodents hold. Celestine lives in an orphanage, with a zeal and talent for drawing, she yearns for a world outside though stories are constantly told about the evil world of bears above. Ernest is down on his luck. When Celestine gets chased by a bear family after attempting to take one of the cubs' tooth, she hides in a trash can. When a hungry and desperate Ernest finds Celestine and tries to eat her, the two find an understanding and affection for one another that is both poetic and moving.

As we continue to live in a world that is dominated by the Pixar-3D mediums, that are only told in our native language, general audiences and industry people need to branch out their scope in the genre and discover these little diamonds that are found in the nooks and crannies of the movie world. Lambert Wilson voices the gentle bear Ernest, who you might remember from The Matrix Reloaded as The Merovingian or more recently from Of Gods and Men where he played the lead Christian. He plays particularly well off his co-star Pauline Brunner, who's innocent ticks and beats in her voice, shine brightly through the naïve and sweet Celestine.

The animation is simply stunning, reminiscing a storybook you would read to your youngest love, everything flows magically from page to screen, and inevitably into your heart. Directors Stéphane Aubier, Vincent Patar, and Benjamin Renner know, with great confidence, what kind of story they want to be told. Inserting the humor at the appropriate times before hitting the right emotional chords with the viewer by film's end. A tender yet bombastic composition by musical composer Vincent Courtois is the film's secret weapon. Capturing the moment and executing the ambiance with absolute precision. I was completely smitten with everything about Ernest & Celestine.

By any means possible, seek out this French animated film from GKIDS. A sensational welcome to the animated genre that will be cherished for years. Ernest & Celestine is proof that hand-drawn animation should and still lives well in the medium. Its clever and fresh nature is purely magnetic and is something that should be considered for the Academy Awards.

The film is scheduled for a limited release December 6.

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France | Belgium | Luxembourg


French | English

Release Date:

28 February 2014 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ernest & Celestine See more »


Box Office


EUR9,600,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$13,078, 2 March 2014

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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