Contemporary World Cinema | 2016 | 94 minutes
Stranger Says:An animated delicacy about the small lives of decent, ordinary British white people who live out a quiet working-class existence while the 20th century roils around them, this adaptation of Raymond Briggs’s graphic memoir of his parents’ lives is both humble and profound, with gorgeous renderings of Briggs’s justly famous lines. Featuring the voices of Jim Broadbent and Brenda Blethyn. (SEAN NELSON)
SIFF Says:Celebrated British illustrator and cartoonist Raymond Briggs is best known for his award-winning picture book The Snowman and its film and stage reworkings. But perhaps closest to his heart is his 1998 graphic novel Ethel & Ernest, a sweet, heartfelt account of his parents’ life together, adapted here in beautiful hand-drawn animation and featuring splendid vocal performances from Brenda Blethyn (Secrets & Lies) and Jim Broadbent (Iris) as the eponymous couple. The story starts in 1928; she’s a lady’s maid, he’s a lowly milkman, and they make eyes at each other every day as he passes by her window. When Ernest finally musters the courage to ring her doorbell with flowers in hand, they date, marry, and begin a working-class life in the London suburb of Wimbledon. Soon they welcome a third member to the family in young Raymond, but outside the warmth of their domestic life, the world is in turmoil. As World War II ramps up and the bombs start falling, Ethel and Ernest tearfully say goodbye to Raymond as he is evacuated from the city for his own protection. Ethel & Ernest is a quietly beautiful history of England’s 20th century through the eyes of two kind souls, their undying love for each other, and the life they gave their undeniably talented son.
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