Sunday, 26 March 2017

Film Review | England | Ethel And Ernest


The 2016 film Ethel And Ernest, directed by Roger Mainwood, depicts the story of the Raymond Briggs novel of the same name, a story that surrounds the themes of love and loss, topics that global audiences can not only relate to but also appreciate. The tale its self is a true telling of Briggs' parents lives, Ethel and Ernest, a couple who lived through a world war and managed to live a mostly happy family focused life, however littered with the trauma's that came along with living through such events.

Fig 1: Film Poster, Ethel And Ernest

As mentioned before, Ethel And Ernest is a British film, not only in its story but also in its style choices. The entire film feels extremely personal, almost handmade, which gives the story a level of charm and relatability that without a doubt added to its potential to connect with an audience. Britain as a region has quite a large catalogue of animation history, with the likes of Aardman in books there is no question that British animation has had an impact on impact on animation worldwide. When compared with the films of fellow British animators Aardman, there are undeniable similarities, the literal handmade stop motion work of the Wallace And Gromit creators mirrors beautifully with the charming aesthetic of Ethel And Ernest, suggesting that within Britain there seems to be a desire to make animation feel personal and to almost make the hard work put into the profession shine through the piece, hiding behind little trickery.

Fig 2: Screenshot, Ethel And Ernest

In terms of previous filmmaking, Mainwood certainly has a recognizable style, with the film The Snowman And The Snowdog to his name there is an obvious aesthetic that runs through his creations, embodying the before mentioned handmade quality that gives the film its tone and personality, something that has really allowed the film to resonate with audiences and bring a tear to the eyes of most viewers.

The story itself follows that of the couple Ethel and Ernest, as they attempt to enjoy a loving marriage and raise a happy family amongst the turmoil that the world war brought upon England. As the pair grow older in their adorable family home, their son, Raymond, grows up and begins to live his own life, and as the wheels of time begin to set in motion the film takes natural but heartbreaking steps that mirror small fractions of anyone's life.

Fig 3: Screenshot, Ethel And Ernest

In terms of quality of film, Ethel And Ernest definitely sits well with most audiences, as difficult areas of life and death are touched upon with a delicate and charming style, resonating themes are to be witnessed throughout its entirety leaving viewers a welcome mix of delight and dread.



Illustration List

Fig 1: Film Poster, Ethel And Ernest, https://viewsfromthesofa.com/2017/01/03/ethel-and-ernest-2016-review/, Accessed on: 26.03.17

Fig 2: Screenshot, Ethel And Ernest, http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2016-12-28/behind-the-scenes-of-ethel--ernest, Accessed on: 26.03.17 

Fig 3: Screenshot, Ethel And Ernest, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3907080/Christmas-s-TV-hit-Snowman-author-RAYMOND-BRIGGS-moving-tale-parents-marriage.html, Accessed on: 26.03.17    

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