Movie Review: Song of the Sea

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Title: Song of the Sea
Director: Tomm Moore
Writers: Tomm Moore and Will Collins
Rating: PG
Release Date: December 10, 2014
Running Time: 93 Minutes
Actors: David Rawle, Brendan Gleeson, Lucy O’Connell, Fionnula Flanagan

Ben, a young Irish boy, and his little sister Saoirse, a girl who can turn into a seal, go on an adventure to free the faeries and save the spirit world.


While I don’t make a habit of reviewing movies on this blog, I’ve been known to do it in the past, such as the movie adaptation of Gone Girl. Any movie review I do would be movies based on books, with the exception of this one. After writing my review of The Iron Druid Chronicles a few days ago, I felt compelled to share a movie that has grown close to my heart and what has quickly become one of my favorite movies to date – Song of the Sea.

In many ways, Song of the Sea reminds me quite of bit of The Iron Druid Chronicles, in that it is set in Ireland with a heavy emphasis on Irish lore and mythology, particularly concerning the daoine sidhe. The legend of this movie, though, is about the selkie, a mythical being said to live as seals in the sea but shed their skin to become human on land. The two main characters of the movie are Ben and his younger sister, Saoirse. They live on an island alone with their father after losing their mother six years prior, the night Saoirse was born. From the very beginning of the movie, the audience learns that their mother, Bronach, is a selkie and – eventually – that Saoirse is one, too. After being forced from their home to live with their grandmother, though, Saoirse starts to become sick and it’s up to her brother, Ben, to help her find her selkie coat and get back to the sea.

The Story: While the basic storyline of the movie seems rather straightforward – one character going on a quest to help another character get well again – the plot itself and the progression of the movie are engaging. The movie is geared toward children, naturally, but adults will be just as fascinated with the mythology and lore. I was one of those people who knew next to nothing about the daoine sidhe or any sort of Irish mythology, at least until I started reading Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles. From there, I was able to learn the basics of the Irish gods and goddesses, as well as some of the more common mythological creatures – yes, a selkie DOES show up in the series! So it was definitely fun to see some of the correlations from a series that I loved to a movie that I adore. That said, since Irish mythology is so vast and somewhat obscure, I was able to learn quite a bit that I hadn’t from Hearne’s series, too. For example, we see an owl goddess called Macha in the movie, who in Irish mythology happens to be a sister to my favorite character from the series, Morrigan. Who knew! In addition, we learn quite a lot more about the selkie myth in general, such as the fact that if they return to the water and don’t stay there, they get sick. Even little references to myths that you wouldn’t catch at first, such as their dog being named CĂș – a reference to doglike fey creatures – are snuck in. Very clever!







The animation: By far, this is one of the most beautifully animated movies I’ve ever seen. It’s stylized similar to Hayao Miyazaki’s work, in that it’s very colorful and detailed. It has a mystic, whimsical quality that accents the mythologically heavy story perfectly. The characters and animals are beyond cute and the attention to detail is superb. I mean, just look at Saoirse. She’s freaking adorable, in both her human and seal forms! Even stills of the movie
(some of which I may or may not have pinned on my wall >.>) are breathtaking.







 


The Soundtrack: In addition to beautiful imagery, the movie comes with a diverse and charming soundtrack, many songs of which are Gaelic. The language is beautiful and magical in its own right, soothing and easy to listen to. It’s a perfect playlist for relaxation, writing or reading. Here's an example of one of the more popular songs from the movie.







The Message: It’s no secret that many stories involving selkies are often tragedies and this movie is no exception. Throughout the movie, Ben has gotten over the initial grief of losing his mother, but he still mourns her absence, as does his father. As a whole, the movie addresses the topic of grief in a surprisingly gentle and touching manner, in a way that is easy for younger audiences to comprehend and for older audiences to respect. It teaches that grief is temporary, no matter how hard it might be, and that those who pass on or are gone from us are never truly gone. It’s a beautiful message and it had me in tears the first time I watched it.

My final verdict is that this movie is not to be missed! If you love animated movies or are fond of magic and mythology, this is certainly a movie that you must track down and watch as soon as possible!

23 comments :

  1. Ohhh that song is BEAUTIFUL. I can see myself getting addicted to this soundtrack. <3 I haven't heard of this at all?! But it looks amazing (I love the gifs) And I know like practically zlich about Irish mythology AND I WANT TO KNOW MORE FOR SURE. I need to see this movie!!

    Thanks for stopping by @ Paper Fury!

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    1. It IS addicting. I find myself humming/singing the songs after watching it and I don't even know most of the words since they're in another language. XD

      I hope you love the movie as much as I do once you get around to watching it and if you want to know more about Irish lore, then you might want to look into The Iron Druid Chronicles, too. It's a lot of fun. ^-^

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    1. Thanks! I hope you love it, if you watch it. ^-^

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  3. As a proud Irish girl, I'm so glad you loved this movie! I only discovered it myself late last year but I love it soo much! I'm glad you did too :) It's one of the few good Irish animated films. Great review!

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    1. Yay! Another fan!! ^-^ I only discovered it last year, too. It really doesn't get the praise it deserves. I guess since it came out the same time as Frozen, it was kinda pushed to the wayside. =/ I love Disney and all, but it's clear which movie should've won the Oscar.

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    2. Totally! Frozen is good, but doesn't deserve all the hype it has :/

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  4. Beautiful song! Thanks for sharing this!

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    1. No problem! I couldn't resist NOT sharing. XD

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  5. I just recently discovered The Iron Druid Chronicles, so I can sort of relate. I, too, don't particularly make it a habit to review films on my blog, but if something is worth talking about, I wouldn't hesitate to feature it on the blog. I can see why you felt the need with this one, though. :)

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    1. Oh? How are you liking the series so far? I was definitely surprised by how much I enjoyed them. ^-^

      And, lol, very true. If we can't talk about what we love on our own blogs, then what's the point? XD I'll be sticking to books most of the time, but who knows? Another movie I love might come along before too long.

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  6. And again your little lurker is stepping out of the shadows! XD
    Great review for an awesome movie!
    And to all the people who haven't seen this movie just yet: GO WATCH IT! IT'S TOTES WORTH IT!!!!

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    1. See? I TOLD you it would be a special review. =P

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  7. This looks so cute! I think you've convinced me to watch the movie!

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    1. It's suuuper cute! I hope you enjoy it when you get around to watching it. ^-^

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  8. This movie looks too cute and from what I'm seeing it sort of reminds me of Spirited Away! Which was a strange movie in terms of plot lines and all, but it was one I actually greatly enjoyed. So I'm glad to know you were able to like this one a lot and that you enjoyed the meaningful message behind it. The Irish folklore and all the mythical creatures sounds pretty cool too.

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    1. Yes! It's a lot like Miyazaki in that sense, though I have to be honest and say that Spirited Away is one I still have yet to watch. >.< I'm sure it is pretty awesome, too.

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  9. Thank you so much for profiling this because I hadn't heard of it and OMG it looks straight up my alley!

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    1. No problem! I hope that you love it just as much as I did once you get around to watching it. ^-^

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  10. My son absolutely LOVESSSSS this movie! We first discovered it on amazon prime I believe, and now it's one of his favorites. I love your movie review for this girl, so freaking cute :)

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    1. That's where I first saw it, too! XD And I have to say your son has superb tastes in movies, lol.

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  11. I hadn't heard much about this film, but the art is so lovely. The soundtrack is beautiful too, and I'm always intrigued by selkie stories so it's definitely on my to-watch list now. Ooh, and it's on Netflix!

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    1. It's a shame that it flew under the radar of most people. It was released within a couple of weeks of Frozen, so I guess it was outshined, sadly. I really think this is the better film. And yup! It's also free with Amazon Prime, the last time a checked. ^-^

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