OFFBEAT: Lauren Bacall lends vocals to animated mouse film

Phil Potempa's daily entertainment news column
2014-04-23T00:00:00Z OFFBEAT: Lauren Bacall lends vocals to animated mouse filmBy Philip Potempa, (219) 852-4327

Actress Lauren Bacall celebrates her 90th birthday in September.

And she's still making movies.

I've interviewed her a few times, as well as her son Stephen Bogart from her marriage to Humphrey Bogart. She's a strong-willed gal and what you see is what you get.

All the more reason her personality and distinct vocals are the perfect fit for her latest fun film role.

"Ernest & Celestine" is a 2012 French-Belgian animated comedy-drama film directed by Stéphane Aubier, Vincent Patar and Benjamin Renner. The film is based on a series of children's books of the same name published by the Belgian author and illustrator Gabrielle Vincent. The film was screened at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival. It was finally released in the United States in 2013 with the English dubbed version available in theaters Feb. 28 also starring the voices of Forest Whitaker, Mackenzie Foy, Paul Giamatti, William H. Macy, Megan Mullally and hubby Nick Offerman and Jeffrey Wright.

Celestine (voiced by Foy) is a little orphan mouse who lives in the underground world of rodents. At the orphanage where she lives, the caretaker is a wizened rat, compete with long skirt and shawl over the shoulders, known as the Gray One (voiced by Bacall) who tells scary stories about the evil nature of the bears that live in the outside world. Celestine, who doubts the stories are entirely true, loves to draw but must soon study dentistry, the occupation all rodents hold. (I don't quite understand this part of the plot, but hey, it's a foreign film...) In preparation for her dentistry studies, she must travel above ground to collect bear cubs' lost teeth from underneath pillows. On one such occasion, the cub's family catches Celestine in the act and chases her into a trash can where she spends the night. The next morning, a destitute and starving bear named Ernest (voiced by Whitaker) discovers Celestine and attempts to eat her. When she convinces him not to and leads the way to a cellar full of food, an unlikely bond forms between the two. But as they soon discover, not everyone - above ground or below - is so accepting of their unprecedented friendship.

While the film hasn't made it to Northwest Indiana, it has finally come to Chicago with showings this week at my favorite vintage landmark theater located near Wrigley Field, The Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Ave., with showtimes at 5:20 p.m. today and Thursday. (Weekend movie schedules haven't been announced yet so it's not certain if the film will be held over for the weekend.) FYI:  (773) 871-6604 or

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at or (219) 852-4327.

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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