Ernest and Celestine

image for Ernest and Celestine

Short takes

Not suitable under 6; parental guidance to 7 due to scenes that may scare young children and themes that may need discussion.

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Ernest and Celestine
  • a review of Ernest and Celestine completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 7 July 2014.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 6 Not suitable due to scenes that may scare young children and themes that may need discussion.
Children aged 6-7 Parental guidance recommended due to scenes that may scare young children and themes that may need discussion.
Children aged 8 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Ernest and Celestine
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes
Length: 79 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Ernest and Celestine is a heart-warming animated film 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 has doubts as to whether the stories are real, and additionally struggles with the pressure that all rodents face to study dentistry, as 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 – these are used by the mice to replace their own teeth if ever one breaks, so that they may still be active and contributing members of the mouse society.

However, on one occasion, Celestine is discovered by a family of bears who chase her into a rubbish bin where she is stuck for the night. In the morning, a kind yet destitute bear named Ernest (Lambert Wilson) discovers Celestine and attempts to eat her. After she is able to convince him not to, an unlikely bond forms between the two. However, they are soon faced by the prejudice and discrimination of others who are not so liberal in their thinking.


Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

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

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in the film, including:

  • 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 a range of ways to kill mice, including mouse traps, etc

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

Children in this age group are likely to be scared by the ‘evil’ bears and the scenes where stories are being told about them, Celestine being chased by bears, Ernest almost eating Celestine and a fire that endangers characters.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may be disturbed by the treatment which Ernest and Celestine receive from their own communities as a result of their friendship, and their being hounded and put on trial.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Nothing of concern

Thirteen and overinfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

Nothing of concern

Sexual references

Nothing of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

Nothing of concern

Use of substances

Nothing of concern

Coarse language

There are some insults such as ‘moron’, ‘dumb’ and ‘stupid’ which children may imitate.

In a nutshell

Ernest and Celestine is an animated French film, dubbed in English, that tells a story of friendship, prejudice and discrimination, as well as societal change. Celestine and Ernest form a bond that goes against the rules set by both bears and mice, but through their determination and decency they change the minds of those around them in regards to values that have been in place for decades. They foster a belief that accepting the differences of others is crucial to living harmoniously, and that minimising the socioeconomic class divide is the responsibility of all members of a society.

The film is likely to raise some interesting discussions for parents and children, but younger children may need help with some scary scenes and explanation of some parts of the story.

Parents may wish to discuss

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