Film Review: Ethel and Ernest at the Tyneside Cinema

The actors and the plot?

Ethel and Ernest is a hand drawn animated film, based on the award winning graphic novel by Raymond Briggs. The book depicted an intimate and affectionate representation of his parents lives. They started as two ordinary individuals in London, but then after surprise meetings in their street they decided to go to the cinema together.

Like any relationship, they flourished and after meeting the parents, they got married and moved into a beautiful house. Their responsibilities soon increased with the arrival of Raymond, their baby boy. They had to embrace family life quickly, whilst being at war with Germany. Raymond was unfortunately evacuated to the countryside for safety, and poor Ethel was heartbroken to be taken away from her son.

Ethel and Ernest both undertook new jobs to support the war and they suffer the consequences of a bomb.  The war was eventually won and the introduction of the welfare state provided Ethel and Ernest with more support. This was on top of Ethel’s promotion to clark B2. They were eventually at peace.

Raymond had grown up a lot, and wanted to go to art school, despite his place in a grammar school. Ethel was not happy with Raymond going to art school and felt that he would get less money in his future career and be lower a social class.

As Ethel got older, it was more clear about the variation in social classes between her and Ernest. Ethel got stuck in her own ways and communicated her dismay towards his cockney songs and lower social class humour.

Technology developed before their eyes and they found new electric applications in their kitchen as well as black and white televisions and a new car. This was not the only change – Raymond reached adolescence and was offered a job in the Royal Core of Signals, based in an office.

Later, Raymond was offered a teaching job in the College of Art and also surprised his parents when he bought a girl home and bought a “box” house in the countryside. Despite this, Ethel was still not impressed and was judging of his life decisions.His father, Ernest, supported Raymonds choices.

Time went by and Ethel became less able. She developed dementia and sadly forgot her husband. She passed, with Raymond by her side. Ernest felt lost without her and had a cat as a companion. He eventually joined Ethel and died.

If you would like to see Ethel and Ernest, it is being shown in the Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle. You can view the trailer at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXDlEw5u8u8 . You can also buy the award winning graphic novel by Raymond Briggs in any good retailers.

My recommendations?

I loved the film. I was moved by the tale of events and it made me think about my childhood. Ethel was perceived in this adaption as quite judgemental – not just of her husband, but of her son and his decisions. As she grew up in a higher social class, it was understandable that she felt that way and it is just “mothers instinct”. We should instead of seeing this as a bad thing, consider how it promotes equality. If you can marry and love someone of a different social class, why not race or nationality?

 

Let me know what you think of this review or film, by commenting.

Bye for Now

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