2013 César Awards, France – Winner Best Animated Film.
2013 Seattle International Film Festival – Winner Films4Families Youth Jury Award.
2012 Dubai International Film Festival – Winner People’s Choice Award.
2012 Cannes Film Festival – Winner SACD Prize (Directors’ Fortnight) Special Mention.
2011 Cinekid – Winner International Film.
US release date: December 6
Célestine is a little mouse in a mice orphanage in the Mouse Town, located down under in the Bear City’s sewer. And in the orphanage grown-up rats always try to make sure that all the mice children are afraid of the big bad bears. Very afraid. In Mouse Town, bear cubs’ teeth are the main commodity. The grown-up rat’s front incisor teeth are quite fragile. So when they’re broken there must always be a healthy stock of replacement teeth. How could a rat survive without their incisors? They can’t even talk right without them. They mumbled and lisped until their teeth are fixed in the town’s main dental center. So grown-up rats regularly send up mice children like Célestine to collect bear cubs’ fell out baby teeth. Because, of course, in France it’s not tooth fairy who collects children’s teeth. It’s la petite souris. The little mouse.
Up in the city, bears sure are look scary; or at least, grumpy. Also, they seem to hate mice very much. But is it true that all bears are evil? A poor, hungry, simpleton bear named Ernest came into the city looking for something to eat. He found Célestine in a trash bin, tried to eat her, but Célestine cleverly redirected him to a candy store cellar. True, Ernest is big and grumpy, but is he really bad? Célestine likes drawing, Ernest loves music. Célestine doesn’t believe that bears are bad, and Ernest doesn’t hate mice that much. Surely they can be friends. But the whole Bear City and the entire Mouse Town are going to disagree.
The movie’s banal humor approach can be annoying, but surely the artsy hand drawn water-color style animation is gorgeous. There’s that egalitarianism and anti-discrimination moral of the story, and of course there’s that obligatory idealistic good ending (And yes, you have to believe that mice can actually capture and imprison a huge sturdy bear). Small children will laugh here and there, but their parents might just scratch their heads and think, “So now we have to embrace the immigrants?”
My Rating: 6/10