Ethel & Ernest (2016)

This Happy Couple

Ernest Briggs would wave to house-maid Ethel everyday at the home where she worked, eventually asking her out and then asking her to marry him. Despite having nothing the two set about married life together and after a few years they have a son Raymond. But with the commencement of WWII Raymond is evacuated to Dorset to live with his aunts whilst Ernest and Ethel work through out the war and deal with the devastation they encounter including damage to their own home. As war ends and the years pass Raymond goes through National Service and then on to art college which is where he meets and marries Jean who is diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Look I could go on about the plot to "Ethel & Ernest" but it is simply Raymond Briggs' touching homage to his parents and what they went through from getting married and having nothing but a mattress to sleep on in their new home to the illnesses which eventually lead to first Ethel's passing and then a short while afterwards Ernest's. And it is incredibly touching giving us an animated journey through the 20th century and its changing face from political changes to the introduction of TV in to homes. In a way it is a little similar to the wonderful "This Happy Breed" but of course with that distinct Raymond Briggs style.

Now I did enjoy "Ethel & Ernest", I love the way it reminds us of various things from not needing all the latest mod cons to be happy to how you can have your own opinion and still be in love. But for me maybe the story of "Ethel & Ernest" was too big for a 94 minute movie because at times it felt like it was rushing through parts which is a shame. This is especially the case when it comes to the way the story of Ethel & Ernest comes to an end.

What this all boils down to is that "Ethel & Ernest" is undoubtedly a charming, touching and pleasant animation which will remind some people about how things were and how they have changed. But for me it tries to put too much in to 90 minutes.