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Film Review: Song of the Sea

A Seaside Rendezvous

With every passing year, the wide range of ingenious minds behind the art that is animation seem to be getting better and better with Tomm Moore’s Song of the Sea a prime example of the boundaries to which the animated feature can be explored upon and to what extent the endless opportunities such a genre of film can be used to create something simply beautiful to behold. In a time where “popcorn cinema” is seemingly taking the big bucks with the endless cycle of brainless, un-imaginative bore-fests, what a sheer pleasure it was to behold and admire Song of the Sea, a gorgeous, traditionally animated masterpiece that not only triggered a wide range of emotions inside, but left me with a sense of blissfulness that encapsulated to the full, the five year old child inside me.

After suffering the loss of both a mother and wife during childbirth, father Conor (Brendan Gleeson) and son Ben (David Rawle) are left to raise their seemingly mute new sibling Saoirse (Lucy O’Connell) within the confines of their lighthouse along with family pet Cu. After years of solitude, Conor’s mother forces the children to move with her into the city, leaving the lighthouse, the sea, their father and Cu for good in order to build a new life in the suburbs, much to the sadness of both brother and sister who quickly decide to find their way back to the one place they feel they belong. On their journey back home however, Ben becomes wary of his sister’s new-found abilities to not only communicate with creatures of folklore and legend, but to possibly be that of a Selkie, a mythical creature derived from the ocean and that of a seal, leading to an adventure of a lifetime with an overall goal to return home to their father once again.

In my review of The Tale of the Princess Kaguya,  I noted that each and every frame could easily be frozen and presented as a work of art in its’ own right, something of which can be said of Song of the Sea, a film that not only has layers upon layers of magical and mystical imagery in almost every scene, but has clearly taken the time to add the smaller and minute details that make its’ sense of wonder even greater, even if they aren’t that important in the context of the film. Many times I simply pointed at the screen in awe of its’ beauty and sheer charm, whether it be the image of buried, sleeping animals in the ground, or the mosaic-esque design of the woodland where we are treated to an almost x-ray vision of our character’s surroundings. Along with the overall design of the film, the writers’ brilliant imagination encompassed the underlying mystical traits of the film, with the scene in which we are introduced to the Owl Witch/Macha in particular being one of the many examples in which all the positive elements of the film came together in expertly fashion.

When it comes to the many positive elements of Song of the Sea, I could seriously and willingly go on all day about them as there is so much to love and so much to take away, with the film concluding with scenes that will most definitely want to make you grab for the nearest tissue box, even if you are too stubborn to admit it. If a film like Song of the Sea was released every week into a global audience, I strongly believe the world will be a much better place, but with its’ limited availability in UK cinemas, it’s a sure possibility that it may go under the radar, a sad fact to take in, yet if you do manage to find the chance to watch Song of the Sea, please do, as Tomm Moore’s animated masterpiece is a film that pulls on the heartstrings, embraces the magical, mystical elements of Irish folklore to the fullest and leaves you with a genuine feeling to experience it all again, a recipe for success if ever there was one.

Overall Score: 10/10