The story of the last Seal Child’s journey home. After their mother’s disappearance, Ben and Saoirse are sent to live with Granny in the city. When they resolve to return to their home by the sea, their journey becomes a race against time as they are drawn into a world Ben knows only from his mother’s folktales. But this is no bedtime story; these fairy folk have been in our world far too long. It soon becomes clear to Ben that Saoirse is the key to their survival.
|Title||:||Song of the Sea|
|Release Date||:||September 6, 2014|
|Genres||:||Family, Animation, Fantasy|
|Production Co.||:||Irish Film Board, Digital Graphics, Big Farm, Cartoon Saloon, Super Productions, Magellan Films, Mélusine Productions, Noerlum Studios, Studio 352|
|Production Countries||:||Belgium, Denmark, France, Ireland, Luxembourg|
|Director||:||Tomm Moore, Nora Twomey|
|Writers||:||Will Collins, Tomm Moore|
|Casts||:||Brendan Gleeson, Fionnula Flanagan, David Rawle, Pat Shortt, Jon Kenny, Lisa Hannigan, Lucy O'Connell, Colm Ó'Snodaigh, Liam Hourican, Kevin Swierszcz, Will Collins, Paul Young|
|Plot Keywords||:||fairy tale, lighthouse, folk music, lighthouse keeper , irish, swimming, dog, seal, irishman, folklore, irish music, underwater cave|
Song of the Sea Reviews
- One of the best animated features of all timeby 6 March 2015on
97 out of 109 people found the following review useful:
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.
- Song Of The Sea is a triumph of design and animation.by 10 January 2015on
57 out of 70 people found the following review useful:
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.
- Irish folklore comes alive in a masterpiece of traditional animationby 22 February 2015on
37 out of 45 people found the following review useful:
Our story begins with a pregnant mother giving her first-born son Ben a young boy a conch shell so that he can hear the sea and be reminded of the mystical Irish folktales she has shared with him. When she disappears into the sea after giving birth to a daughter Saoirse ('Seer-Sha'), the story fast-forwards 6 years into the future where we find a broken family. The father and devoted lighthouse-keeper (voiced by Brendan Gleeson) is distraught and empty after the loss of his wife, Saoirse has yet to utter a word and is thought to be mute, and Ben would sooner be in the company of his loyal dog Cu than mind his little sister like he is supposed to.
The night their meddling grandmother comes to try and take the children away to the city, young Saoirse is led by an illuminating force to a coat among her absent-mother's belongings and subsequently wanders into the ocean where she is transformed into a seal. We later find out that she is part selkie a magical being that is capable of such transformation. Finding her human again and washed up along the beach asleep (and having come down with a cold), the grandmother sees no alternative other than to 'rescue' the children from such a hostile environment and proceeds to take Ben and Saoirse to Dublin.
Disheartened by their new home, the children quickly escape on a journey to find their way back to their father and the lighthouse. Along the way, Ben and Saoirse find themselves engulfed in many of the same fantastical stories their mother always talked about. Additionally Saoirse discovers her ability to tune into the spirit realm and nature through her gifts as a selkie and with the help Ben's conch shell.
It's a story of love that is infused with rich mythology and folklore. Beautiful is a term that I seldom get to use as a cinephile, but beautiful is the only word I can use to describe Song of the Sea. Director/writer Tomm Moore has created a wondrous and vibrant style that immediately calls to mind the works of Hayao Miyazaki that Moore has cited as his personal inspiration.
Whereas Miyazaki draws upon the wealth of his Japanese heritage to create internationally acclaimed works such as Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke, Moore celebrates the folk stories of his native Ireland as he did in his 2009 Oscar nominated film The Secret of Kells. With Song of the Sea, we get tales of spirits, selkies, fairies and the like that seems as if they've been immortally captured in a children's storybook and jazzed up with a modern family drama. Moore's animations are infused with Celtic designs and an eerie mysticism that seem as if a painting has come to life before your eyes.
There is something absolutely enchanting in the way Moore and his animation company Cartoon Saloon are able to use traditional animation to tell such a compelling story. The characters are engaging and the story is both poignant and inspiring, but the real beauty in this film is the swirling palettes of color that captivate the audience with each passing frame. Set aside all that digital garbage and be refreshed by a style of animation that is truly magical.
I tried to think of the perfect descriptor for this film, but the best I could come up with is to liken it to the equally beautiful film Pan's Labyrinth if it were a Studio Ghibli film. It has dark elements, a timeless and engrossing story, and an aesthetic mastery that will see you through these otherwise barren months of cinema.
Read the full review and others like it on the Drive-in Zeppelin website
- Magicalby 12 October 2014on
41 out of 53 people found the following review useful:
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.
- Amazing fairy tale told with brilliant animationby 7 February 2015on
30 out of 39 people found the following review useful:
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.
- Let the song of the sea sway your heart..:)by 19 March 2015on
27 out of 35 people found the following review useful:
Amazing artwork and amazing story! I must say this movie has a story to tell that will work up to your emotion just like sea touching a stone and fills it with life. Music is great! The use of color and environment is so vivid and well thought. "Song of the sea" takes you into a emotional and adventurous journey with Saoirse and Ben. I strongly recommend to watch this animated movie. If you are a fan of animation you will simply love it. I've watched quite a lot of work of Studio Ghibli. 2D work like this is rare to come by these days. Wonderful creation! You should make movies like this and unlock a part of us which has been lost in the waves of time. Thank you. :)
- The Myth Busterby 29 March 2015on
33 out of 48 people found the following review useful:
It is generally accepted that only Disney can do animation with strong musical themes. Wrong.
It is generally accepted that only Japan can produce superior animation.Wrong.
It is generally accepted that FINDING NEMO was the best animated story about the sea.Wrong.
The other IMDb reviewer who said this could be the best animated feature ever made may not be wrong. It is one of a kind.
I could go on but hopefully you get the point.
Wonderful. Enchanting. Magical. Perfect.
I couldn't even hit the PAUSE button.
- Really does cast an enchantingly intoxicating spell on anyone watchingby 11 July 2015on
16 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
Song of the Sea is perhaps known best for being one of the films nominated for the Best Animated Feature Oscar, and after seeing the film it's easy to see why. It's a beautiful and enchanting film, and one of the strongest of the nominees of what was mostly a solid line-up (one where even the weakest of the nominees, The Boxtrolls, had a lot of fine things about it). And as well-done a film The Secret of Kells is, to me Song of the Sea is the superior film, having connected more with the story.
Song of the Sea is so wonderfully animated, the character designs have a real charm without being too cute or stereotyped, but even better are the breathtakingly beautiful colours and very handsomely detailed and at its best magical background art. The music score is equally striking, the melancholic and lilting Celtic sound fitting so well and hauntingly with the story's emotional mood. The film contains a beautifully written script, thoughtful, poignant and with many nuances.
That the story was so easy to connect with was yet another thing that Song of the Sea excelled so well at, it doesn't try to do too much, for one as layered and rich as this one, nor does it feel too slight for the running time. The atmosphere is enchanting, but it was the emotional impact that was even more resonant, it is a subject very easy to identify with and the most emotional parts were just heart-breaking. The characters are interesting and engaging, Ben starts off a little stereotypical but goes through a significant amount of character growth throughout the film that it becomes far easier to warm to him. The voice work is fine, with an admirably nimble Brendan Gleeson and a charming and emotive Lucy O'Connell being particularly strong while David Rawle portrays Ben's development and emotions very believably as well.
All in all, outstanding film and really does cast an enchantingly intoxicating spell on anyone who has the fortune to watch it. 10/10 Bethany Cox
- Simply beautiful: I defy you not to love it!by 1 February 2015on
20 out of 27 people found the following review useful:
"My son, remember me in your stories and in your songs. Know that I will always love you, always." Mother Bronagh
A good kids' animation will usually include some well-known motifs such as in Hansel and Gretel and The Wizard of Oz; Tomm Moore's Song of the Sea does. However, this is no ordinary animation: It swirls with pastels that morph into imaginative lines capturing humans and faeries as if the world supported both in their glory and despair--a phantasmagoric hot mess if you will. As he did in his first spectacular animation, the Secret of Kells, Moore hand draws (without the aid of computer) a maritime story about Ireland, not some nebulous Neverland.
Despite the imaginative, albeit almost primitive visuals, the story hammers home some important themes, especially for kids: the challenges of an older brother with a younger sister and the loss of a parent inducing depression to cause muteness. In addition, the interaction of a domineering grandma with small children plays a part as the filmmakers accurately target the challenges of growing up for any child.
In this Oscar-nominated tale set in 1987, Saoirse (voice of Lucy O'Connell), a mute child living in a lighthouse with her tormenting older brother, suffers the loss of mother, who is actually one of the Selkies (women in Scottish and Irish legend who change from seals to people while hiding their sealness). So, too, little Selkie Saoirse, who struggles to bring back mother from the sea and deal with grumpy grandma at the same time.
Saoirse's responsibility is to save all the fairy creatures from the modern world. Besides meeting an array of eccentric characters, she helps her bro learn to love her, and dad to accept the loss of his wife. If the story is not new enough for you, then relax with visuals that will hypnotize in their simplicity of execution and complexity of theme.
Then you can also consider how this 6 million dollar movie beats the heck out of major studio productions costing twenty times that.
- Hopefully a contender for an animation Oscar nomination.by 28 October 2014on
23 out of 35 people found the following review useful:
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. 7/10
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