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Plot:

Saoirse is a child who is the last of the selkies, women in Irish and Scottish legends who transform from seals into people. She escapes from her grandmother’s home to journey to the sea and free fairy creatures trapped in the modern world.

Also Known As: Song of the Sea, Písen more Czech, La canción del mar, Het lied van de zee, Песнь моря, Die Melodie des Meeres, Le chant de la mer, La canzone del mare, Havets sång, A tenger dala, Juros giesme, Το τραγούδι της θάλασσας, Denizin Sarkisi, Pesma mora, Meren laulu, Piesen mora, A Canção do Oceano, A Canção do Mar, Sekrety morza, Amhran na Mara, Пiсня моря, Sangen fra havet, Pesem morja, Cantecul marii

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  • m
    M.

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  • maristella-fabbri
    maristella fabbri

    It’s not everyday when a movie leaves you so entranced to the point your drunk on it for a few days after watching it. But somehow this movie really hit me. When I first saw The Secret of Kells some years back, I said; “I want to see what else these people have in store”. Sure enough not to long afterward I heard that Song of the Sea was in production. At that point I was so hyped to see it. I didn’t know if it was going to be better then Kells but somehow I knew that the film was going to be something special. But little did I know that Song of the Sea was going to completely blow my expectations. It’s honestly hard to talk about this movie. But I guess if I had to sum it up in one word it would be; Beautiful. Everything about this movie is just beautifully handled and thought out. The characters, the story, the visuals, and it’s even shot very well. You wouldn’t expect that from an animation it being “well shot”. Considering that in 2d animation the camera is just planted. But the backgrounds and the images really have crisp visual story telling.A lot of people are a little closed minded to this movie because of how unlikable Ben can be. To that I say; “That was the point, duh”! Have any of you ever hear of a story arc? How boring and unsatisfying would the ending be if Ben was just a nice kid throughout the movie? Now for the problems with the movie. There was only one big problem with the movie. It was embarrassing to watch. Oh no, not because it was an unbearable or annoying, its because I feel embarrassed for most American animation.After watching this movie and then waking up and realizing that most American animation is mostly (not always) filled to brim with dull, sterile CG movies that are usually aimed strictly for kids. We see movies like; The Nut Job, Strange Magic, Alpha and Omega and list goes on forever. After watching Song of the Sea I just realized how ashamed I am of the animation industry in America. They need to step up their game.But enough of that. Overall just watch Song of the Sea. It’s an indescribably wonder that deserves that all the attention it can get.

  • tone-isaksen
    tone isaksen

    In a cinematic world where originality is becoming lackluster and CGI overused, along comes a hand-drawn animated movie that delves into an ancient legend not well known to American audiences. “Song of the Sea” is a tale derived from Irish folklore that not only brings in stunning visuals, but an emotional depth few can match. When I first heard about this film, I thought it was one of those short animated films you would find on youtube and upon further research (and watching the Awards on TV), I was surprised to find that it won an award alongside the likes of another animated hit “Big Hero 6”. Further research into Irish lore is what eventually won me over into seeing “Song of the Sea” and take in an experience I haven’t felt in a long time.After the mysterious disappearance of his mother, a young boy named Ben lives with his quiet little sister Saoirse (pronounced “seer-sha”) and depressed father in a lighthouse. Despite his responsibility as a big brother, Ben is quite bitter towards his sister, but an unexpected change is on the horizon. As it turns out, Saoirse is a selkie, human on land and a seal in water, and her voice and musical ability has the power to restore the vitality of magical creatures. However, things become grim when the girl is not only separated from her seal coat (the source of her transformation and power), but her and Ben’s grandmother moves them to the city. Things become more perilous when Macha the Owl Witch sets her sights on the siblings. Ben must now journey back home with his sister and reunite Saoirse with her coat before time runs out.From beginning to end, this film had a profound effect on me. The characters have so much depth to them that they seemingly become real. Ben is initially a rather unhappy person, often taking his frustrations out on poor Saoirse, but as his journey progresses, he learns what it means to be a true brother. Saoirse herself is my favorite character. Aside from having some fascinating powers, she conveys so much emotion through her facial expressions alone despite the fact that she does not speak. There’s a great sense of innocence to her as no matter what adversity she’s faced with, Saoirse brings warmth to nearly every scene she’s in. Some of the side characters are also good, especially this one fellow named Seanachai, a Faerie whose hair contains memories of his kind. Eccentric yet still quite fun. Macha the Owl Witch is interesting to say the least, an antagonist whose motivations are understandable, though her methods of achieving them are less than agreeable. Definitely one who defied my expectations.Other elements of the film are done in spectacular fashion. The art style is simplistic and yet so full of detail and life that it’s hard not to take your eyes off it. The underwater scenes are especially fantastic to look at, perfectly capturing the beauty and tranquility the sea has to offer. The land environments, from the cities to the forests, are not too shabby either and the bright mystical elements make an ideal contrast to some of the dark gloomy atmosphere. And then we have the music. This is a soundtrack I could listen to all day. The melody and rhythm of each song makes me feel both joyful and peaceful, especially the titular song. I also like this exploration of Irish lore, so full of interesting mythological figures and stories. Finally, the climax, which I won’t spoil, is one of the best I’ve seen in any film, with all the aforementioned elements blending together in one heck of an emotional experience.What else is there to say about “Song of the Sea”. The story, the characters, animation, music, etc., are all wonderfully brought to life. I actually almost teared up by the time the movie was over. That alone speaks volumes of the power of this fairy tale. There seriously needs to be more films like this out there. Check out this beautiful flick and enjoy the ride!

  • tapio-huuskonen
    tapio huuskonen

    I was already aware of the work of the director of this film, Tomm Moore, when I saw his previous animated feature film The Secret of Kells (2009). That film like this one was very distinctive in that it was based around Irish folklore. It is highly encouraging to see a nation not really associated with much cinema output like Ireland start to release their own unique animated movies. As it turned out, both of these films got additional visibility by being nominated for Oscars at the Academy Awards, so it seems like the Irish have certainly hit on something here and I hope that more such features emerge from the Emerald Isle in the future.The Song of the Sea is another animated fantasy-adventure. It focuses on a boy and his little sister, the latter of which is a Seal child, also known as a Selkie. They live in a lighthouse on a small island with their dad, their mother having died while giving birth to the daughter. Despite being almost six years old, the little girl has never uttered a single word, alienating her from her brother. But soon the mysteries of her origins begin to emerge and strange events follow.Like Moore’s last film this is another that has been made using traditional animation methods, i.e. its hand drawn. This pleases me a lot as this type of animation always seems to have more soul that CGI. The whole thing is awash with great Celtic art and it really feels like every frame is constructed with consummate care. The story tells of primal things like the call of the ocean and interweaves this with imaginative fantasy creations such as an Owl Witch. Although it has to be said that I thought some of its best and most atmospheric moments were during the domestic scenes such as the parts set in Dublin. Whatever the case, the beautiful art-work creates a feeling all of its own. I have to admit to not being entirely drawn in by the characters though, with the boy Ben being somewhat irritating to be quite honest. If I had made more of a connection with the characters then I would have rated this one higher no doubt. Nevertheless, this is a lovely piece of animation which climaxed with a sequence of extraordinary beauty when the little girl sings the ‘Song to the Sea’. I have to admit it put a lump in my throat and was genuinely emotional and beautiful. This ending alone is worth watching the movie for. All-in-all, this has to go down as a creative triumph.

  • nojus-zukauskas
    nojus zukauskas

    Greetings again from the darkness. Fans of animation can expect to experience a bit of nostalgia as they treasure the rare hand-drawn works of animator Tomm Moore. However, Mr. Moore’s artistry may even be exceeded by his extraordinary story telling ability. This gem from Ireland is an Oscar nominee for Best Animated Feature, as was Mr. Moore’s The Secret of Kells (a runner-up that year to Up). It’s a top notch family movie filled with adventure, fantasy, emotion and characters worth caring about.Young Ben lives an ideal life with his lighthouse caretaker father, pregnant mother, and beloved dog Cu on an isolated island. Ideal that is, until the “Bambi’s mother” moment, which 6 years later, finds Ben’s dad still in mourning, while Ben flashes animosity and blame towards his mute little sister, Saoirse (pronounced Sir-sha). What we as viewers soon learn is that cute little Saoirse is a selkie – just like her mother was. Irish and Scottish legend states that selkies can transform themselves from people to seals, and have a real connection with the sea and the fairy world.When the over-bearing, know-it-all granny decides that an island is no place to raise kids, she moves Ben and Saoirse to the big city … sans dog and dad. Of course, this is a terrible idea and the two kids are soon enough off on an adventure of self-discovery and rescue. They run into 3 of the remaining fairies who know that selkie Saoirse is their only hope with her magic sea shell (from her mom) and her as yet undiscovered singing voice. It turns out the songs Ben’s mom taught him, when sung by Saoirse, can free the souls of the fairies turned to stone by the evil owl witch Macha. The real fun is in the details of their adventure.Moore’s story has the feel of an ancient folk tale and legend, with a dose of mythology. Since the story coincides with Halloween, it also adds an additional element of creatures, real vs pretend. As you can see, the story is no mindless cartoon. It contains much emotion tied to the brother/sister battles, the loss of a parent, nosy relatives, and the path of discovering one’s own self … even through the eyes of children. Terrific voice work comes courtesy of Brendan Gleeson, Fionnula Flanagan, David Rawle (Ben), and Lucy O’Connell (Saoirse). It’s a timeless story that, amongst other things, is a legitimate Oscar contender while reminding brothers to be nice to their sister!

  • danna-poltavets
    danna poltavets

    Song of the Sea has beautiful visuals throughout and is always a treat to look at. It’s an intimate fantasy tale of a family living in the wake of their mother having went into the sea because she’s a creature thing to become a creature thing. Now the brother and sister must get back home from their Grandmother’s house and also solve the fantasy thing because the girl is a Selkie (half-seal) like her Mom was. This movie didn’t really make sense to me.Watching the movie is a nice experience because the images look like well-crafted, detailed drawings like a painting from a children’s book. But beneath these visuals is a story that feels like it makes enough sense to pass off, but I can’t figure out why anything really happened. To put it best, this movie made up its own rules as it went along. It’s like someone is telling you a bedtime story that they’re just making up as they go along. It lacks proper stakes and explanations for why things in its fantasy world are the way they are. I’m not just trying to nitpick, here. Towards the beginning, I was getting a hint that this story didn’t have anything at stake. They want to get home, and separately, the girl is discovering that she is a seal creature. With this discovery, which happens out of nowhere, she has a task. What is this task? She has to un-stone creatures and fairies from this fantasy world that she meets as if she is a chosen one, but she isn’t. We don’t know why they want her specifically or what she is getting from them by doing this. We don’t know what it means for her to be a Selkie. We do know that she is going to die for some reason if she doesn’t do it. So what are her tasks for accomplishing this? The one thing that makes sense is that she has to get a coat from her house, but most of the story is the two siblings wandering wherever in this fantasy world. She has to follow some little shiny things and then she’ll solve the fantasy thing. I call it the “fantasy thing” because she’s not really solving anything at all. She’s just going on a thing that she needs to do because the movie said so. There’s a shell that she plays that makes bad things go away when convenient, established by the movie when needed. There’s a water portal in a house in the middle of nowhere that leads to a guy whose beard grows and I guess each strand tells a story. I don’t know what this guy did for the story or for the characters. There are seals who help the characters ride to where they need to go in the ocean just because. The pieces in this story add up to what looks like a proper film but they don’t actually make any sense, and therefore mean nothing. Unlike other fantasies, this one establishes its rules on the spot and without any grounding. By the end of the movie, I had realized that no explanation was coming for me, and that this movie simply didn’t make sense. I can’t say, however, that it was unpleasant to watch. The characters, while not that developed, were nice to watch and had loving relationships with one another that gives the movie some emotion. The score, I should mention, is very very good. I had a warm feeling while watching much of it, but it’s hard for me not to be weighed down by its lack of making any sort of sense, and I have a hard time believing that apparently no critics see this.

  • angela-branco
    angela branco

    Whilst being aware of the latest CGI extravaganzas from the US,and the delicate beauty of Studio Ghibli,I started to hear about an animated title from Ireland,which appeared to have come completely from out of nowhere.Getting the very lucky opportunity to be the host of an event taking place on IMDb’s Film Festivals board,I was thrilled to discover that film was one of the main festival viewings,which led to me getting ready to hear the sea sing.The plot:Living in a lighthouse,Ben,his dog Cú,his dad Conor and mum Bronagh welcome Saoirse into the family.One night, Bronagh tells the family that she loves them,and disappears into the ocean.Over the years Conor continues to mourn Bronagh’s (presumed) death,as Saoirse goes mute and Ben blames her for the disappearance of their mum.On Saoirse’s birthday Ben tells her a scary folk tale about an Owl Witch who take people’s feelings and turns them into stone. Playing with a seashell Bronagh gave Ben, Saoirse finds a coat.Going to the ocean where her mum disappeared, Saoirse puts the coat on and transforms into a Selkie.View on the film:Proudly being a square peg that will never fit in a round hole,co- writer/(along with Will Collins) director Tomm Moore weaves a magical world with all of the characters and surroundings have pointed edges,which along with subtly expressing the rough edges of their lives,also give Ben and the family quirky designs which sharply capture the grief they have for Bronagh.Going under the sea, Moore splashes in waves of Psychedelic beauty. Produced between 4 animation studios across Europe, Moore blends the magnificent hand- drawn animation together seamlessly,with the collective approach bringing lush chalk coloured landscapes across the screen.Set on a canvas of Bruno Coulais rich score and Folk songs from Nolwenn Leroy and the band Kíla,the screenplay by Moore and Collins places the viewer in the midst of Saoirse and Ben’s wonderment. Straying away from any needlessly dry exposition on the Folk legends,the writers instead present them as they are,which grip Saoirse and Ben’s encounters with Færie’s and Great Seanachaí’s in an irresistible enchanting atmosphere. Breaking up the family in the opening scenes,the writers display extraordinary care in looking at the theme of parental loss,hitting the family hard,with Conor,Ben and Saoirse all in grief for Bronagh. Finely balancing the fantasy with the personal,the writers keep the fantastical discoveries Ben and Saoirse make be a part of their process with grief,as Conor,Ben and Saoirse hear Bronagh voice across the song of the sea.

  • prnnv-krssnnmuurti
    prnnv krssnnmuurti

    It’s good to know that even in the new 10s, we can still get traditionally animated films of this quality, after even Disney has given up on them. Song of the Sea is of course done with a smaller budget, but you honestly couldn’t tell, mostly because the animation style is so simplistically beautiful and partly because of the skill of the animators.Like their previous film, The Secret of Kells, Song of the Sea is heavily rooted in Irish folklore and mythology, which is exactly the right choice because we’re once again treated to an amazingly deep, layered and emotionally mature story. This time our story follows the life of a young girl named Saoirse (Lucy O’Connell). Her mother was called away when she was born and now she’s living on a small island with her dad, Conor (Brendan Gleeson), and brother Ben (David Rawle). Yet she has never uttered a single word in her life, and slowly the past of her mother and the secrets of her own origin start to unravel.Song of the Sea shines because of the complexity and personality of its characters. You’re instantly pulled into the mythology of Ireland and the film is very skilled in explaining and showing the intricacies of its lore without shoving it down our throats. The various mythic characters are especially interesting, threatening, sympathetic and intriguing, all at the same time.Yet the movie’s biggest problem are also some of its characters. Mainly the children. Saoirse is fine, even if a bit passive to my liking, but Ben is simply annoying. He’s very much your stereotypical whiny little brat, who thinks he’s entitled. And yeah, there are good reasons for it, one of them simply being that he’s at that age, but it’s still annoying. I wouldn’t even complain all that much, but there is a way to make an annoying brat without it being annoying to the viewers.But, luckily Ben has his redeeming qualities as well, so it’s nowhere near enough to ruin the film. Song of the Sea is absolutely worth a watch if you liked The Secrets of Kells or if you’re still looking for new traditionally animated films.

  • isaiah-peterson
    isaiah peterson

    I have downloaded the movie a long time ago but i didn’t have the time to see it. Two days ago i had one of my worst asthma attack ever.. it was a mess & I was completely down. I thought i should cheer up a little bit and watch a funny movie, but the truth is, if i didn’t watch this beautiful, just beautiful movie i wouldn’t be in this peaceful condition right now.this movie lift you up and take you to another world where everything is just beautiful, simple and astonishingly pure. It’s one of the movie that can make you feel better about yourself and know that holding the sadness inside wont do any good. It provide you with a lot of positive energy to be tolerant to whatever is happening in the world.I’m really thankful to those who created such a beautiful movie.

  • ing-pedro-soliz
    ing pedro soliz

    From the opening sounds as we first hear the hypnotic “Song of the Sea” it is clear that this film is something special. It’s a Celtic song that a pregnant mother sings to her 4 year old son to tell the tale of the Selkie, a mystical creature with the power to live as a seal at sea and human on land with the ability to carry the spirits across the oceans. Shortly after this he wakes to find his father clutching his new born sister in his arms, with his mother disappeared.6 years later, the young boy named Ben (David Rawle) has grown to be a grumpy child who has been raised by his father Conor (Brendan Gleeson), neither of whom have been able to get over the loss of a mother and a wife. He’s raised along with his sister Saoirsie who has yet to speak a single word despite nearly reaching six years old. But the relationship between Ben and his sister is troubled, as he often treats her with much disdain and distance. He loves his sister as any brother would, but blames her for the loss of his mother at the same time causing him to to act out at times. This difficult situation leads to the children’s grandmother (Fionnula Flanagan) to take them to the city of Dublin, away from the lighthouse and the sea in the hope of having them finally recover. But Ben misses his home, with the lighthouse being one of the few things left to connect him to his mother and sets off to journey home. On his journey he encounters the mystic creatures of Irish folk lore that he was enamoured with as a child from giants made of stone to an aged creature who contains the memories of every mystic creature in his long beard. From these creatures Ben discovers that his sister is a selkie and he must return her to the sea so she can sing the selkie’s song to release the souls of the mystic creatures.Unlike the standard computer animated films that have become too commonplace, Song of the Sea is lovingly drawn with hand drawn animation. It’s truly imaginative in its visuals at times creating beauty in the mundane through creating the streets of Dublin and having gorgeous bright lights engulfing the town at night. At others it creates the mystic land of the sea and the sight of the seals swimming majestically against the rough waves or giants emerging from the ocean’s depths. It is constantly beautiful and carries with it stunning attention to detail bringing the world to life through incredible touches including dust particles floating in the sunlight, creating a world to behold through its more traditional take on animation. Whilst the film explores the entirety of Celtic legend, the core of the film remains its characters and how they deal with their bereavement and depression. Each character deals with their pain in a different way with some removing their emotions entirely due to not being able to handle them any longer or becoming obsessed with the past when they were happy. With this we get great emotional depth from all the characters as we can understand and even possibly relate to all the pain that they are going through. But the centre relationship is the heartwarming relationship between Ben and his sister. He is going through a difficult period of his life, at times being selfish and even cruel because of his his reeling from the loss of his mother. But as the film goes on we watch many beautiful scenes where we see he is a brother willing to go any length to save his sister.I could draw all kinds of comparisons about this films to other animated gems. I could say that it has the sense of childlike wonder that you see in a Disney film. I could say that the film delivers the same spirit of adventure of a Ghibli film. But comparisons like this do the film a disservice. This film stands in its own right delivering a unique animation style and focus on Irish culture not quite like any I’ve seen before. It is truly a masterpiece.

  • mitchell-turner
    mitchell turner

    Let me begin with saying: Song of the Sea is hands down the best animated film of 2014 and probably one of the best animated movies in the last… 80 years. Song of the Sea does what a lot of animators have forgotten what animation does: It does what real-life can’t. It tells stories. IT HAS MAGIC IN THE DRAWINGS.Just looking at Song of the Sea is amazing in itself. While a lot of animated movies will set a nice looking atmosphere, rarely is every shot a piece in itself. Song of the Sea is beautiful in EVERY shot. There is not a single shot that hasn’t been carefully constructed. And this is just one of the many great elements of this animation. Even without its good story-telling and great soundtrack, it is still one of the most beautiful animations to date. Now, the story itself can be a little bit confusing without a little prior knowledge on Irish mythology, but the movie explains most of what is needed to be known. The one advantage this movie has in story-telling is that the whole film is treated like a classic fairy-tale. Things sort of just… happen… and fall into place. This isn’t done in a lazy way, but it is done in a very dream-like way so the story just naturally flows. This may sound weird, but upon viewing it it will make more sense what I’m trying to say. This effect is created mostly through minimal dialogue. There are certain spans of time in the movie where no one talks for five minutes or so. And this isn’t just one scene, the movie consistently lacks dialogue and tells its story mostly through visuals. I will say this as a mild warning: THIS FILM IS NOT FOR EVERYONE.Because the film tells its story almost entirely through visuals and minimal dialogue, I could imagine it dragging for some people. This isn’t the kind of animated film that uses animation to tell jokes, it is the kind of animated film that wants you to get lost in its world.On an additional note, the movie’s soundtrack is very good. It is gentle, quite, and peaceful, without ever getting too big and bold. This helps keep the atmosphere consistent.Lastly, I will say what makes me even happier about this film is that it was made on a micro-budget compared to Disney, yet made an infinitely better animated film than Disney (or even Studio Ghibli) has made in some years. This movie proves that hard work, dedication, and simple beauty, can make one of the most visually impressive animated films in quite some time, and yet it still has a small budget. This proves that budget doesn’t make an animated film look good.Long story short, I won’t talk about the details of this masterpiece, but I will conclude that I hope to see more animated films from Tomm Moore… A LOT MORE animated films.A true inspiration for fellow animators.

  • charlotte-owens
    charlotte owens

    Like most hand-drawn animations, they are often quite the treat to look upon, this is no different. It uses a “watercolors” type aesthetic although much cleaner. I wouldn’t say it’s the same as anime, but it share some similarities, like how the backgrounds are usually hand-drawn and the characters are drawn digitally (they still fit very well into the scene though, which I can’t say for some anime’s).The story takes inspiration from Irish folklore, primarily with the “Selkie”. A creature who becomes a seal in water but human on land. One of the two main characters, an odd mute girl is one of these creatures.The folklore inspiration work quite well, however as far as the story goes – It leaves a little to be desired. It seems somewhat uninspired without anything to make it truly stand out. It’ll probably make an excellent kids movie, and one that is very gender neutral. I have however seen much more sophisticated storytelling within these kinds of movies. It’s not at all bad – just.. bland. The visuals though are still enough to warrant seeing this movie if find them appealing.

  • patrick-gilbert
    patrick gilbert

    Song of the Sea is a singularly exceptional film. It hides complexity in both story and fabulous art behind a simple, beguiling tale of two children, Saoirse and Ben, their father, Connor, their mother Bronach, and a very adorable dog, Cu, who struggle to cope with loss, and find in magical realism a way to understand and find the world afresh.Using superb metaphors and meaning from Irish folktales and legends the film can be viewed on one level simply as an adventurous fairy tale set in modern times, but viewed deeply, it speaks deeply to the human condition; and for this viewer is one of the most singular films of the decade. It is fun, funny, and sorrowful and, importantly, as unpatronising as children themselves. It is totally suited to all ages, including very small children, who will adore the seals and Cu, and adults, and even teenagers, who may be enticed to see something more. It is this aspect of understanding the human condition in Tomm Moore’s film that lifts it from another animated film to the absolute finest cinema. Yet he does so with such a light touch that many viewers will accept the magical realism and simply enjoy the charm and whimsy and be swept along. However, it also poignantly asks if happiness can exist without sorrow, and given the choice, would we want to live without either or both, and does so with some terrific touches. In addition, here is a world of sublime artistic technical skill and excellent voice acting – the film is hand-drawn and was 4 years in the making – the detailing with swirls and lines in the backgrounds and the tiny movements, while still keeping a simply line drawn animation, deserves multiple viewings. Tomm Moore has with this and Secret of Kells turned Irish animation into a world class powerhouse. This is not American or Japanese, Moore has successfully defined in two films, a unique approach that marries Celtic line art with simple 2D animation and a non-vibrant colour palette and has created a new school of animation.This is a great film – several critics pounced on Kells for a lack of a defined story, here they cannot possibly complain: the interweaving of Irish legends with the modern day, is both inspired and strong. Also strong is a wonderful sly sense of humour and real, not forced, emotion. It is both entertaining and deep – and works.Finally, it is the meaning and value of family and above all, the place of the mother, that makes Song of the Sea exceptional – I have seen few other film that explores loss with such wonderful metaphors as this, and certainly none as beautiful and with such a light touch as this. It is constantly surprising, full of wonder, and is, in the best sense, simply magical. Above all, it never defines where reality ends and magic begins and that is its real magic.

  • robert-jiblaze
    robert jiblaze

    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

  • kathleen-garza
    kathleen garza

    It’s so great that such a small film like this will now get seen because it got nominated for an Oscar, whereas if it had not it would’ve gone very much underseen. I have to start off by saying that while the voice acting here is decent (surprisingly a little underacting by Brendan Gleeson), the sound mixing and sound editing is truly spectacular. At times the sounds were so real that if I closed my eyes I would really believe I was near the ocean. The animation as well, for being an independent film, is truly beautiful. Simple, but the colors are really vivid and strong and they have a great effect. Overall, the film is just gentle and joyous and so hard to dislike. It’s a bit light, but harmless.

  • gina-lopez
    gina lopez

    A vacation to a recurring place, like that cabin in the mountains you visit once a year, is one of those nostalgic memories that you treasure so much that you’ll try hard to recreate it when your turn comes to be a parent. For most, there are either mountain people or beach people; one set enjoys the sea air and playing in the sand while there are those that prefer the smell of pine and the wide openness of nature. I’ve had the privilege to have both, though I consider myself more of a beach guy.One place that my parents would take my brother and I (and still do to this day) is the lovely Laguna Beach. The conflicting scents of sunscreen and ocean water give me such a relaxing buzz that I can’t help but feel that the sea itself calls to me. Being about to observe the tide corals and touch them, as well as sticking my feet in the water just seems to define Southern California. It’s such a laid back atmosphere and it’s something that I hope to observe more in the future. The call of the ocean is the subject in Song of the Sea. It’s set in Ireland where we find a family living on an island in a lighthouse where a young boy named Ben loves his life with his lighthouse keeper father and his mother whose ready to give birth to a daughter. One night she disappears into the sea but the daughter is born safely. The father becomes distant from his kids out of guilt that he couldn’t have saved his wife, leaving young Ben to care for his sister. Six years later, the girl, named Saoirse, has yet to speak and easily frustrates Ben as he’s remained fearful of the ocean water and forbids her to enter it. The two are your typical brother sister set who tend to fight and play pranks on each other, even though Ben is usually the troublemaker. Their grandmother comes to visit on Saoirse’s birthday and tries again to persuade her son to let the grandkids come live with her. Things seem to go fine until Saoirse finds her mothers seashell that was given to Ben. She finds that when she plays it, a magical force leads her to find a coat where upon wearing in the sea, will allow her to turn into a seal. The incident convinces the father the kids might be better off and send them to their grandmother. The kids don’t like the arrangement and set off to return to the lighthouse while coming across some other mysterious Celtic legends. The team behind this picture also made the previously Oscar nominated Secret of the Kells. As with their last film, Song of the Sea is beautifully hand drawn, which is something we really need more of. Some say that computer animation is all what people want, but I think if marketed well, this would have done as well as a regular Disney movie (maybe not Frozen levels, but a lot).As a story, Song of the Sea is a nice coming of age story that nicely shows a genuine relationship of brother and sister. A lot of the brother-sister sets we see are usually fighting or really close, yet this one is a bit a both, and because of that, feels more real. I too would be just as stressed should my sibling have never talked. The legends of giants turning into stone islands, trolls living in cities and owl witches are fun to hear about and have a timeless quality that more Americans should hear about. That might be the Irish ancestry inside of me but what are young gonna do?I’ll give this nine seashell flutes out of ten. Song of the Sea has plenty of mysterious fantasy without any unnecessary pandering that one might receive from Nickelodeon. This is a film a highly recommend to not just families, but to those that have had a sibling.

  • christopher-stevens
    christopher stevens

    “My son, remember me in your stories and in your songs. Know that I will always love you, always.” Mother BronaghA 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.

  • vita-briedis
    vita briedis

    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.

  • tracey-arnold
    tracey arnold

    The songs and the music is so magical it takes you so deep in the ocean and so high up the Irish highlands traditional stories.The Oscar nomination was no foul, for me it is as good as Big Hero 6 but maybe the latter has more Action,, yet the storyline and plot here is tighter and more intriguing.There were some Irish sentences where i’m lost .. couldn’t get few words 😉 😀 but i lived for a while up in Glasgow, Scotland so i kinda got used to these mysteriously “charming” accents ;)Don’t keep your emotions sealed in jars 🙂 It’s been really so long since i’v watched an Animated movie with so much heightened emotions 🙂 In the final scene i really felt like crying …Overall it’s recommended , hope you enjoy it guys 😉

  • ing-nadia-peres
    ing nadia peres

    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.

  • drahomira-urbanova
    drahomira urbanova

    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. 🙂

  • thomas-preston
    thomas preston

    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.

  • teterin-martyn-filippovich
    teterin martyn filippovich

    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

  • kociss-carbone
    kociss carbone

    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.

  • dott-mietta-ricci
    dott mietta ricci

    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

  • tadeas-pospisil
    tadeas pospisil

    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.