Review: Song of the Sea (2014)


Director: Tomm Moore

Starring: David Rawle, Brendan Gleeson, Lisa Hannigan

Release Date: 10th July 2015 (UK)

Irish director Tomm Moore has made a comeback with his second film Song of the Sea, a follow-up to his Oscar nominated animation; The Secret of Kells. Moore has created yet another tale inspired by Irish legends, applying his own hand-drawn style to create this dazzling animation. This Irish legend is based on Selkies; mystical seals who can transform into humans. These tales often delivered solace to those who have lost loved ones to the sea.

Young Ben (David Rawle) is just a child when his pregnant mother gets lost at sea, leaving behind a little baby girl, his younger sister Saoirse. With many unanswered questions, the two children grew up living in an island lighthouse with their father and pet dog Cu, where Saoirse is repeatedly drawn into the water by a mysterious calling. Things start to go wrong when their interfering granny moves them away from the sea and into the city. With time running out and the villainous owl, Macha, turning the magical creatures into stone, Ben and Saoirse find themselves wrapped up in an adventure they would never forget.

Films which are visually appealing and captivating to watch is something which I enjoy the most, so it comes as no surprise that I loved Song of the Sea the moment cute, smiling seals appeared on my TV screen. I also enjoyed how the songs in the film are still sung in Irish, even though the film is in English. This gives it a more Irish feel which keeps reminding you that this is based on an Irish Legend.

When the film begins, the first thing you will notice is the spectacular visuals. Although they may not be as extravagant as some other major animators, the characters and the landscapes appear as watercolours brought to life. The amount of time and effort spent in adding even the smallest detail into the different scenes, from the bustling city to a cliff on the seaside, it was just so expertly done. People who say animated films are just for kids; they are very wrong. This is a work of art for people of all ages to enjoy.

The storyline is rather simple and easy to understand, but at the heart of this, the Song of the Sea is a story about losing a loved one and how different people cope with it in different ways. When the mother disappears, the father is distraught and wallows in his sorrow; Ben is resentful towards his sister and blames her for their mother’s disappearance whilst their grandmother tries to run away and escape the emotions by moving as far away as possible to the city. This Irish legend challenges us to overcome our fears and embrace death so we can return home as transformed beings.

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