In many ways, the film and TV adaptations of Raymond Briggs’ comics, illustrations and graphic novels are an intrinsic part of the British psyche. The Snowman has wowed and amazed several generations of children for countless Christmases, whilst Fungus the Bogeyman is a perennial favourite. On the other hand, Where the Wind Blows is one of the most traumatising and beautiful animations ever to be made in this country. His latest collaboration with director Roger Mainwood, Ethel & Ernest, is a delicate and warm portrait of Briggs’ parents.
Ethel (Brenda Blethyn) & Ernest (Jim Broadbent) begin their courtship in London in the 1920s. Their romance blossoms and they eventuality get married and buy a house together. Ethel is concerned about what the neighbours think and social niceties, whilst Ernest is just a working-class boy at heart. After years of trying they’re overjoyed to finally have a son. They must deal with the onset of war, The Blitz, rationing, as well as the normal troubles of everyday life.
There’s nothing overly dramatic or unusual about the story of Ethel & Ernest. In many ways, this is what makes it such a lovely and touching film. It’s a wonderful tribute by Briggs to his parents. Beautifully animated, it will be a familiar story for many, and there will be much which rings true for many with parents or grandparents of the same generation. Ethel & Ernest is a film which will enthral both adults and children alike, looking destined to become a Christmas television favourite.
Ethel & Ernest is out in cinemas from Friday.