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Ethel & Ernest


Stars: Jim Broadbent, Brenda Blethyn, Luke Treadaway, Pam Ferris

Director: Roger Mainwood

Delightful hand-drawn animation is one of the major pleasure of Raymond Briggs' account of his parents' life, through late marriage, the war, 'prosperity', the coming of television and death. But there are few smiles or brighter moments here, and I found it all vaguely depressing, perhaps in part because it reminded me of my own life.

Briggs' dad, warmly played by Broadbent, was a milkman all his life, his wife a ladies' maid who became an office worker but suffered from dementia in her closing years. The film's most vivid scenes are those of wartime devastation, especially when firemen are battling massive blazes in London, while young Raymond is evacuated to the countryside.

The Briggses also own a cat, Suzy, which seems to have lived a remarkably long life, eventually outstaying both Ethel and Ernest. She must have used up all of her nine lives to do it.

David Quinlan

UK 2016. UK Distributor: BBC Films. Colour (unspecified).
94 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 06 Jan 2017

DVD review