Image courtesy of G Kids.

Ernest & Celestine deserves its Oscar nomination.

The animated feature, originally created in French, impressed critics at the Cannes, Toronto and Hong Kong film festivals. I expect no less for the English version at Sundance.

Celestine (Mackenzie Foy) is a young orphan mouse in a society below ground, where the bears living in the city above are not trusted. But the bear world, which is equally prejudiced against mice, fascinates her. The fact she’d rather create art than become a dentist makes her more of an outsider.

By chance, Celestine meets Ernest (Forest Whitaker), a lazy, hungry and not-so-smart bear, who’s also an outcast.

Ernest and Celestine’s friendship takes off in the most beautiful way—through art. Ernest was once an aspiring musician, and Celestine expresses herself through her paintings.

Songs in the English version are still in French and compliment the artwork in the film. And you’ll probably notice new details and characters in the mice city on a second screening.

For adults, comparisons to human society and “the other” might come up, but for the kids, it’s just a funny, light-hearted flick about two best friends for life regardless of their differences.

The film also features the voices of Lauren Bacall, Paul Giamatti, William H. Macy, Megan Mullally, Nick Offerman and Jeffrey Wright. The film is directed by Benjamin Renner, Stéphane Aubier and Vincent Patar. 

Upcoming screenings

Jan. 18, 12:30 p.m., Redstone Cinema, Park City
Jan. 19, 2 p.m., Salt Lake City Library Theatre
Jan. 25, 12:30 p.m., Redstone Cinema, Park City