Friday, February 13, 2015

Movie Review: "Song of the Sea" (2014)

Movie"Song of the Sea"
Ticket Price: $13.50
Showtime: 10:10 pm
Rating: PG
Running Time: 1 hour, 33 minutes
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Ben (David Rawle) is a young Irish boy who was told tales of the Selkies from his mother. Ben's mother is pregnant and Ben hopes to be the best big brother in the world. When his mother dissapears the night his sister is born, Ben's father Conor (Brendan Gleeson) becomes emotionally distraught. Six years later, Ben spends a lot of time watching his little sister Saoirse (Lucy O'Connell), but grows frustrated with her as she has never spoken a word in her life. The family lives in a lighthouse and Saoirse seems to have an irresistible urge to head to the water. Their Granny (Fionnula Flanagan) believes this to be an unsafe environment and wants to move the children into the city. What she doesn't know is that Saoirse is the last of the Selkies, who had recently found her magic coat and taking her away from there causes her to become ill and could mean her death. Ben must help Saoirse return to the lighthouse, retrieve her magic coat and fulfill her destiny to free the fairies who have been frozen in stone by a witch and her owls before it's too late. 

The Best Animated Feature category at the Oscars is one we like to attempt to complete before the award ceremony simply because we love animated films, big and small. "Song of the Sea" was a total shocker and surprise nominee this year at it is considered one of two films that had a part in the snubbing of "The Lego Movie." We jumped at the chance to see it since it was the last one on our list. In the same animation style of "The Secret of Kells," which was also directed by Tomm Moore and was nominated for Best Animated Film in 2010, this film is visually stunning and masterfully crafted. Moore is able to bring his signature swirlingly colorful and glittery flowing animation style to life once again. In addition to this, the story itself is one that mimics a folklore, but is actually an original story that is based on old Irish and Scottish folktales. This story is one that can be darker at times, as some works of animation can be, but we appreciate the differences between this film and other American animated works. We also love how the writers of this movie obviously dedicated large amounts of time to develop each character fully and well.

Selkies are mythical creatures who take the form of seals in the water and as humans on land. These seals have a very cute and goofy face, which younger kids will love and appreciate. We get a quick back story on the legends in the form of stories told to Ben by his mother. Though Saoirse is a Selkie in this film, it is really a story about Ben coming to terms with the disappearance of his mother and his eventual acceptance of his sister. Ben starts out very bitter towards his sister as he blames her for his mother being gone. Then, he holds her responsible for them being forced to leave their home, taken to the city by their Granny. He grows a tremendous amount as a character throughout the film, eventually trying to fulfill his promise of being the best big brother ever, while Saoirse fulfills her destiny as the last of the Selkies. There are a lot of cute, quirky and funny moments in this film, but where "Song of the Sea" really shines is its heart. It is, in many ways, a touchingly tragic story for many characters, and though the witch and her owls act as villains for much of the film, she is certainly a sympathetic character, too. All she wanted was for her son to not have to feel the pain of his lost love anymore, so she turned him to stone and literally bottles emotions to keep from feeling the pain that feeling emotions can bring. The only downside is the film's pacing. For some reason, it felt very long, even though it is only about an hour and a half in length. This movie manages to be turned from simplistic story into both a visually beautiful and emotionally deep film that we really enjoyed. It also has a really great song throughout the movie that is sure to get stuck in your head for days to come.

My Rating: 7.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 7.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 8.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 97%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?


  1. Kaguya-hime is an amazing movie. 

  2. we just watched this last night, so I had to pop over to see if you had reviewed it!
    I agree the movie felt really long.. i got distracted during some of the lags, but my 7 yr old boy sat still the whole time & soaked it all in. The colors and magical aspects were amazing & the music gorgeous.. it reminded me of Ponyo.

    1. PONYO! Yes! It totally reminded me of Ponyo, too! I am glad you liked it, the colors and magical elements were enough to keep anyone engaged. So beautifully done!