Produced by various film companies from Ireland, France and Belgium, Tomm Moore’s Song of The Sea could have quite easily have been another dreadful Europudding that plays to such a young audience, that it barely gets a cinema release. With stunning animation and a magical story however, Song of The Sea has more in common with the finest works of Studio Ghibli and Pixar, than it does a Europud.
Much like the films from Ghibli, Song of The Sea is rooted in folklore, nature, music and tragedy. Set in Ireland, it tells the story of a brother and sister, David and Saoirse, whose sibling bond has been strained ever since Saoirse was born. When the young girl, who has never spoken, finds a white coat hidden away in their lighthouse home, she discovers that she’s a selkie – a person who can turn into a seal and has a connection to the spirit world.
When Macha, a witch who can turn people into stone, sends her Owls to capture Saoirse, it’s up to her older brother to protect her – and whilst they make a journey back home, the pair come into contact with all manner of ancient beings, as their bond begins to grow.
To reveal all of the film’s wonders and secrets would do a disservice to it and you, as one of the biggest pleasures I had with Song of The Sea was not knowing what to expect at all. Needless to say though, I loved it deeply and as time has passed that love has continued to grow.
It’s a beautiful piece of work, with animation so detailed that’ll you want to watch it again and again just to see what you might have missed previously. The wonderful imagery through the film becomes a character in itself – an expressionist work of art that eloquently evokes the mood and tone of the film.
Much deeper than the lucid, eye-widening visuals, Song of The Sea is an emotionally charged story that made me cry floods of tears. Surprisingly adult, when you look through all the mysticism and magic, it’s essentially a very human story about a family dealing with grief.
It’s actually a very sad and somber affair, and is all the better for it. Like that flooring opening sequence from Up, or the heartbreaking ending from Ghibli’s recent The Tale of Princess Kaguya, Song of The Sea is another excellent example of animated film-making at its very best. It doesn’t talk down to the younger audience, but instead challenges them to think and feel things that they might not yet quite understand.
Song of The Sea is gorgeous to look at and extremely moving. Complimented with a lovely folky soundtrack, the film is layered with complex animation and even more complicated human emotions. It makes for sweet and soulful viewing and offers enough magic to keep children entertained, while the adults bawl like babies, in the darkness of the cinema. A full and complete package, it’s a must for all ages.
Image credit to http://www.impawards.com