Song Of The Sea: Film Review
Posted on July 24, 2015
Inspired by Gaelic folklore this Irish feature from the makers of the similarly mystical The Secret Of Kells (Oscar nominated in 2010) blends traditional fantasy with modern concerns. The film’s remote setting – a beautiful, atmospheric lighthouse – clashes with the congested, disorderly streets of urban Ireland where seaside children Ben and Saoirse are sent to live with their Grandma. With exaggerated hills and deep blue seas, the 2D animation is gorgeous, as if torn straight from the pages of the most magical children’s books.
Writer-director Tomm Moore fully commits to an intimate tone, opening with a delicate song shared between mother and son. In the very next scene she dies in childbirth and the family becomes wracked with grief. Moore’s entire film is tinged with this loss but the director handles bereavement more creatively than typical Disney Pixar formulas. It’s Song Of The Sea’s intense honesty about the human condition that makes it a must see animation for adults as well as children.
The family’s new arrival, Saoirse, is the last of the selkies – mystical girls who can transform into seals – and occupies a complex space between treasured daughter and resented sister. Moore’s poignant rescue plot, which centres on faeries turned to stone after giving up their emotional suffering to the spiritual Macha, presents Saoirse as both a mystical and a familial heroine.
VERDICT: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 5/5
Running time: 93 minutes
UK release date: 10 July 2015
Images: © 2014 – GKIDS