In the current animated cinematic climate in which 3-D, computer graphics, flash and glitz are all the rage, "Ernest & Celestine" is positively anachronistic.

Looking like a watercolor painting come to life, the beautiful French film -- released in both French with subtitles and English (I saw the French version) -- tells a story of friendship found between animals from two species that have no business being friends.

In this exceedingly charming affair, mice live underground and bears above ground -- and both are severely afraid of each other. The two social outcasts, the poor, starving bear Ernest and the artistic mouse Celestine, get past societal norms to find friendship in a world that says they should be enemies. It's a simple story told elegantly, animated in a style unlike anything you've seen in years. From deep in my heart, I recommend this movie.

 

Directed by St├ęphane Aubier, Vincent Patar, Benjamin Renner
With the voices of Lambert Wilson, Pauline Brunner in French; Forest Whitaker, Mackenzie Foy, Lauren Bacall, Paul Giamatti, William H. Macy in English
Rated PG
Playing at IFC Center