Song Of The Sea

Director: Tomm Moore.
Screenplay: Will Collins, Tomm Moore.
Voices: David Rawle, Brendan Gleeson, Fionnula Flanagan, Lisa Hannigan, Lucy O’Connell, Jon Kenny, Pat Shortt, Colm Ó’Snodaigh, Liam Hourican, Kevin Sweirszcz, Will Collins, Paul Young.

“My son, remember me in your stories and in your songs. Know that I will always love you.”

After receiving an Oscar nomination for his exquisitely animated film The Secret of Kells in 2009, director Tomm Moore achieved the same again with his unique style of animation for his follow-up, Song of the Sea. In the first instance, he lost the Oscar to Disney’s Up and the second time around Disney prevailed again with Big Hero 6. However, it’s still good to see Moore’s films challenge such big hitters.
After the death of their mother, Ben and his little sister Saoirse are sent to live with their grandmother as their father is still in grieving. They take it upon themselves to find their own way back home by embarking on a fantastical journey across the sea where they are tasked with freeing faeries and saving the spirit world while discovering the magic and ancient legend of the Selkies – mythical seals who, when on land, can change into human form.As he had previously done in  The Secret of Kells, Moore again focuses on Irish folklore and imbues the whole tale with the same ethereal beauty that he employed so stunningly in his debut. His traditional, hand-drawn animation is a joy to behold and so refreshing in an age of overproduced, computer generated material. Despite having made only two films (and a contribution to Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet), Moore has been mentioned in a similar light to the great Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki in his ability to create his own magical and enchanting stories. Personally speaking, I think the comparison to Miyazaki is far too premature but Moore is certainly an undoubted talent, regardless. His worlds and imagination can, at times, be breathtaking and Song of the Sea is a wonderful piece of storytelling. Like The Secret of Kells, however, the film has slight pacing issues but this should only really affect the concentration of younger viewers. Other than that, Moore has refined a lot of the faults that befell his debut. His story is stronger and more involving and his decision to stick with composer Bruno Coulais and Irish folk band Kila results in a perfectly fitting score that captures and compliments the essence of Celtic mythology.A rich and beautifully crafted rights-of-passage fable where the story and imagery interweave with near perfection. Thoroughly deserving of it’s Oscar nomination last year and very unlucky to lose out to Big Hero 6. The Academy are well known for making wrong decisions but it’s hugely disappointing that they’d overlook this in favour of something that just happened to make more money. This is a genuine gem of animation.Mark Walker

Trivia: Selkies are seal folk in Scottish and Irish culture. They are said to crawl ashore at night, and change into beautiful ladies and handsome men with seductive powers over humans. “Selkie” comes from the Scottish word “silche” (seal) and they are said to inhabit the Orkney and Shetland islands above Scotland.

26 Responses to “Song Of The Sea”

  1. Really loved this film, the storytelling was great and the drawings beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I honestly thought these (meaning this and The Secret of Kells) actually *were* products of Studio Ghibli. You mean to tell me they are not? The animation looks up to scratch for sure!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for bringing this to my attention, I have a friend who really liked the film and keeps saying I should see it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Haven’t managed to see this yet, but more praise from yourself is only fuelling my desire. The still images look amazingly unique. Great write-up!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. abbiosbiston Says:

    I loved this. It was utterly magical.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m so picky with animation but this one really does look good. I’ve heard good things. I need to check it out.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ah, this review warms my heart. It’s lovely to read about animation that doesn’t eminate from Disney (or the US for that matter).

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Mark, hope you are well. I LOVE this one, it’s such a unique animated feature that’s beautiful to look at but also has a deep, emotional story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Ruth. I’m doing just fine. Hope all is well with yourself. Sorry for the lack of activity on your blog but I’ve really not been a reciprocal blogger of late. I’m happy to post now and again but struggling to get around everyone else’s.

      Glad to hear you enjoyed this film though. It’s such a little treat isn’t it?! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Sorry man, I’ve missed your posts as of late! This is a nice review, it looks so cute and charming! I’ll get to watching it some day!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. The animation style took a bit to get used to when I first watched The Secret of Kells, but anything is sweeter with a young Irish accent 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • I enjoyed The Secret of Kells and absolutely loved the animation but it was the story that I found lost its way. Song of the Sea was a much tighter film for me, though. Beautiful piece of work!


  11. I think the film is animated beautifully and the music adds even more to that dreamlike quality it has. And it’s certainly very cool that they drew on mythology and folklore as a basis for the story 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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