Song of the Sea (2014)

Animation, Family, Fantasy
Brendan Gleeson, Fionnula Flanagan, David Rawle, Pat Shortt
Saoirse, a little girl who can turn into a seal, goes on an adventure with her brother to save the spirit world and other magical beings like her.
Song of the Sea boasts narrative depth commensurate with its visual beauty, adding up to an animated saga overflowing with family-friendly riches.
  • 10 Dec 2014 Released:
  • 17 Mar 2015 DVD Release:
  • $0.7M Box office:

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Amazing fairy tale told with brilliant animation9/10
Whenever I see a movie like this, it makes me wish that 3D animation was not so dominate in popularity.

Ben is a small boy who goes on a journey with his sister, Saoirse to reunited her with the last gift their mother granted her before passing, which will give her the ability to sing a song that can save all the creatures from their mother's fairy tales.

The Irish are rich with stories and fairy tales of mythical creatures. It was awesome to see one of those takes come to life in the most beautiful animation.

So well done, it was like a painting coming to life.

This was one of the best animated movies I see in a while. I can see how it was nominated for an Oscar.

Absolutely worth watching.
Song Of The Sea is a triumph of design and animation.10/10
From the Academy Award-nominated director of The Secret of Kells "Tomm Moore"This visually stunning animation masterwork, steeped in Irish myth, folklore and legend,Perfect balance of fantasy & real life.

A sweet journey of love and loss through Celtic mythology with a unique animation style that I've come to love,Song Of The Sea is a triumph in design and animation,The story was rich and quite impressive as well but after you see this film you'll be thinking about how amazing and beautiful it was.

Song Of The Sea gets a 10/10 from me and is well worth to be seen in theaters.
When one loses their feelings, they risk turning to stone. Selkies, magical beings that change from seals to humans, have the power to reverse such changes. This is because selkies are in touch with nature, love and the ancient way of things. However, selkies cannot make the changes by themselves. They need help from humans. A little girl, Saoirse, is a selkie. Saoirse attempts to keep her family from turning to stone. Her family is prone to grief and selfishness. They do not reveal their hearts to others. Saoirse's task becomes all the more difficult when her mother, also a selkie, strangely disappears in the night. And through no fault of her own, Saoirse's voice vanishes as well. On top of this, strangers who already lost their emotions for good, try to make Saoirse lose hope. Will her father, older brother and grandmother, all preoccupied with their own concerns, help or turn away? The beautiful, spell binding and intricate animation of this film includes the Northern lights, sunrises and surreal underwater worlds. The singular theme of the film underscores the truth that stories, emotions, animals and nature connect us to our better selves and to each other. From the director of the spectacular, award winning Secret of Kells. Seen at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.
One of the best animated features of all time10/10
I guess the title kind of gives it away, doesn't it? Still, I'm not one who's given to hyperbole when describing movies, and I'm enough of a critic that I want to nitpick to insane degrees from time to time, but I just can't do it with Song of the Sea. There's just nothing to point out.

This movie is from the same studio that brought us The Secret of Kells (2009), an almost beguilingly charming movie that brought together elements of Druidic myth, passionate Christian faith, history, and Celtic grandeur in a way that I don't think anyone had ever really seen before. When a studio with such a good first effort under their belt takes five years to come out with a second film, you can bet that it's because they're doing something magical.

The only real comparison that's able to be drawn is to the work of Hayao Miyazaki, simply because there's not another animated filmmaker out there who's as honest and earnest with their culture's folklore to compare to. Where Miyazaki-san's work is steeped in spiritual fantasy and a love for his home country not really seen since the Romantic movement, Tomm Moore is a bit more grounded in Western storytelling and keeps his myths well interacted with daily life. His stories are a whimsical blend of magic and the mundane, and it's all carried so well that you wish it could all be true.

The story of Saoirse and her brother Ben is cut from the classic Hero's Journey so closely that you can practically see Joseph Campbell's fingerprints on the screen. In the back of my mind, I was pointing out each and every plot point as it went by, like an eager sightseer out the side of a tour bus. While the story is formulaic, sure, it's executed brilliantly and engagingly. As we so often forget; Tropes Are Not Bad. It's fantastic to see the tools of storytelling so perfectly implemented. It's like watching a master painter or musician craft their art.

Speaking of which, Song of the Sea doesn't lack for anything in the artistic departments. The visuals are jaw-droppingly beautiful, simplistic in design, true to the Celtic roots of the story, and should almost be listed as a character in and of themselves. This story simply couldn't have been told as well with a different art crew, the dynamic is so tied into the feel and flow of the tale. The score is, similarly, simplistic and heartfelt. It doesn't overshadow anything. There's no bombast or leitmotif to be found, but the music is so integral to the plot that you can't imagine the movie without it. Or not even with more of it, the balance is so fine.

And to cap it all off, the voice acting is absolutely brilliant. This is what I long to hear, a return to the days when people were matched to roles that they could play, not a parade of Hollywood "talent" who tries to buy viewers with recognition and star power. Song of the Sea is loaded with people who can actually ACT in their voices alone, and from the adults straight down to the child actors who play the roles of the protagonist pair, every one is a standout.

Honestly, I haven't seen an animated film this heartfelt and earnest since The Lion King, which is probably one of the last times that a studio really just threw their cards on the table and said "let's see what we can really do to tell a story". Song of the Sea hasn't and won't gross well at the box office by Hollywood standards - which is a true shame, because I can't think of a film from 2014 that more deserves to be seen.
Hopefully a contender for an animation Oscar nomination.7/10
Director Tomm Moore's followup to his Oscar nominated debut The Secret of Kells certainly has the potential to follow in its footsteps if it can reach enough of an audience. Song of the Sea adapts the Selkie legends and takes them one step further. I'm quite familiar with the story having spent the last year of my degree writing a short film about it, but Songsubverts the mythological and tells a sequel of sorts. The story is essentially Beauty and the Beastplus The Little Mermaid, wherein seals turn to women and fall in love with men on the land, staying with them until they are called back to the sea.

Beginning at the end of the tale, the mother Selkie, who has wedded a human fisherman and already had a baby boy with him, is pregnant once more. About to give birth, she relents that she has to go back to sea and sacrifices herself to leave a baby girl to the remaining family. It jumps six years into the future. The older brother, Ben, resents his younger and mute sister, Saoirse, for their mother having to leave them for good. At odds between their home by the rough treacherous sea and their fussy Grandma who wants them to live in the city, they're forced away from their distraught father (voiced charmingly by Brendan Gleeson) and their dog to live with her.

Immediately reluctant to settle, they begin their journey home and discover that the ancient stories and characters their mother told them are true. As a half-Selkie, Saoirse has the power to save a race of trolls turned to stone, and Ben has the responsibility of making sure she meets their goal. The theme is overt, bottling up emotions turns you to stone, but the truth in that is powerful. There's a very delicate storybook quality to the film. Perhaps mostly due to the simplistic and now refreshing 2D animation style that glitters beautifully with its swirls, but also in the episodic way the story unfolds. It is quite pedestrian in its traditions and obviously contrived in its storytelling, one ostensibly accessible for children, but the emotional honesty and depth of the characters make it engaging. It has at least a sprightly spirit of adventure.

Granted, side characters are often eccentric for the sake of being eccentric. Though they do have the type of elasticity we haven't seen since the Disney films of the 60s and 70s after they've become more reserved in the 90s. The elegant style owes a debt to Ghibli films, but I'm not a big fan of Hayao Miyasaki outside of his craft and I preferred this more identifiable approach to the fantasy. Fortunately, among all the fantastical elements it has a very grounded sense of humour rather than an often irritatingly quirky one that a film like Frozen boasts and it makes it a much easier film to invest in. With its overwhelming ending, endearing characters, and lovely Celtic music, Song Of The Sea a thoroughly pleasant and poignant experience. The film won't be big enough to contend for the Oscar win, but with any luck we'll see it on the shortlist and in the top five.


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