I have been waiting to see Song of the Sea for over two years now, since I first watched The Secret of Kells. Both films are directed by Tomm Moore, and both use the same flat style of animation, giving the films an illustrative style uncommon in animation today.
Ben has been helping raise Saoirse, his younger sister who looks very much like their mother. Ben’s mother disappeared several years prior, and his father spends most of his time buried in his work as lighthouse master rather than being with his children. Saoirse doesn’t speak, but she loves to hang out with Ben (much to his annoyance). After Conor (Ben’s father) and his mother find Saoirse in the water, Ben and Saoirse are sent to live with the grandmother in the city.
I absolutely love the animation in this film. It is intricate and simple at the same time, and it definitely shows its Irish illustration influences. The colors are vivid and inviting, and very reminiscent of the style of many illustrations from Ireland. I just can’t tell you how much I like the animation and style of this film. It is simply gorgeous.
The music is beautiful, as well. Bruno Coulais and Kíla make you feel the story through the music, weaving you into the story as it moves along. Lisa Hannigan (the voice of Ben’s and Saoirse’s mother) & Lucy O’ Connell (the voice of Saoirse) sang an enchanting duet in “The Song”, and Hannigan lent her voice to several other songs which her character had sung to the children. I liked the music from The Secret of Kells, but I really love the music from this film.
The Irish myths referenced in this film—the selkies, Macha, and Mac Lir—give a good introduction to anyone unfamiliar with them, and a new and excellent story for those already familiar with them. While they are presented in a fairly innocent way, without getting too scary (though there are a few very scary scenes), the film stays true to the myths it is representing.
One of my favorite features in Moore’s films (at least the two I have seen) is his use of very young children to tell the story. None of the main characters are older than about 10, and this helps present the stories from a different perspective and make the stories more accessible to a younger audience. Even with that, viewers of all ages will enjoy the story presented here.
To children of all ages, I highly recommend seeing this film. It is a solid fantasy story which can be enjoyed by anyone who still has a sense of wonder. It will take that wonder and expand it, leaving a lasting impression and a desire to explore more of the world.
Release Date: December 10, 2014 (France)
MPAA Rating: PG
Alcohol/Drugs: 1 (brief social drinking)
Violence: 1 (scary witch attacks kids with owls and magic, some intense scenes)