Tuesday, March 17, 2015

[Review] Song of the Sea

Following 2009's The Secret of Kells, Tomm Moore's next offering, Song of the Sea, is an even more enchanting animated tale based on Celtic mythology surrounding a mystical being called the selkie.

After a brief prologue, the film leaps forward to the adolescent era of brother and sister, Ben and Saoirse. After the death of their mother, the family's lives are in turmoil. Confusion and grief litters the household, and their father (voiced by Brendan Gleeson) has been left smile-less. One magical night, Saoirse plays a tune into a seashell and is led to the sea by a swirling collective of glowing fairy specks. Here, she swims with the seals and transforms into one herself. It's a scene that is both gorgeous and chilling. After the two siblings are sent to go live with their grandma, a fantastical and dreamy quest ensues as they search for meaning and unlock secrets of ancient stories.

The film is visually beautiful, and it possesses the poignancy to match. The frosted animation is  traditional in style, as well intricately layered and textured. Some major highlights are the dips through the glimmering and effervescent ocean, along with the views of the foggy, ethereal hillsides. Along with that, it's a heartrending tale of feeling lost. It displays a family torn apart by significant death and how they find their way through the crashing waves. The Celtic score, full of flutes and strings, fits in wonderfully and enhances the whole picture. This testament of the power of stories & songs begins from a somber place of rainy sorrow, and ends at a cliffside of hope and peace.

Song of the Sea reflects the quieter and more subdued side of current animated films, as opposed to a lot of the stateside big studio "LET IT GO" extravaganzas. And even if you are unfamiliar with the folklore, there's plenty to love and drift away in.


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