Sunday, 19 March 2017

World Animation - 'Ethel and Ernest' (2016)

Fig.1 'Ethel and Ernest' Poster
Based upon the graphic novel by Raymond Briggs, 'Ethel & Ernest' (2016) Dir. Roger Mainwood, follows the life and times of Briggs's Mother and Father, Ethel & Ernest, from their early beginnings during the 20's all the way up to their deaths in the 70's. The animation was aired on the BBC during the Christmas period.
Fig. 2 Film Still
The film opens in a mundane looking home, an elderly man making himself a hot drink, he sits at his drawing board and we soon realise that this is Raymond Briggs, the son of Ethel and Ernest.
Seeing Briggs and the beginning of the film really gives you a sense of reality outside of the animation, the reality being that the animation we are seeing is true.
From the very beginning of the animation you are pulled in to a hand-drawn world, every part of the animation has been lovingly crafted by it's animators. The film's aesthetic is taken from it's graphic novel counterpart, it feels as if a children's book has come to life. This use of a 'cute' looking animation, in the opinion of this review, helps the viewer to deal with the sometimes intimate and harrowing scenes upon the screen.
Something that stands out are the scenes during World War II. In a way the early scenes depicting the start of the war, the build up are quite ominous. As they listen to news on the radio of goings on between people of political power you can't help but feel anxious as coming from a generation we know what is to come but we must sit and watch as these everyday families are none-the-wiser.

Fig. 3 Film Still
Overall the animation is fun and a great adaptation of a well loved novel. The emotion in the film is quite powerful as as vieverws we are seeing what life was like during pivotal moments of the 20th Century and the way in which they affect working-class family life. 
Although the film ends on quite a sad note (the passing of both Ethel and Ernest) you can't help but feel happy to have seen their life and followed them through decades of decisions and yes it may be an animation but it's an animation about real life and real people which makes it's something that generation after generation will be able to watch and enjoy.


Figure 1. 'Ethel & Ernest' [Poster] At: Accessed on: 19/03/2017

Figure 2. [Film Still] At: Accessed on: 19/03/2017

Figure 3. [Film Still[ At: Accessed on: 19/03/2017

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