Song Of The Sea, movie review: A mystical and strangely melancholy affair

Very different from other Hollywood big budget animations

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The Independent Culture

Tomm Moore’s follow-up to The Secret of Kells is a mystical and strangely melancholy affair.

Rooted in Irish folklore and with a handcrafted feel, it is very different to zany, big-budget Hollywood animated features. For all its references to fairies and “Selkies” (seals that take human form on land), this is a story about a family trying to cope with bereavement.

Saoirse is a mute little girl whose mother disappeared at the time of her birth. Her older brother resents her hugely. Her self-pitying father has become a reclusive alcoholic and her battle-axe of a granny wants to take her away to the city. Saoirse, though, is a seal-child herself, in touch with the fairies. A film which seems a little fey and whimsical in its early scenes becomes ever richer and more beguiling. Moore is dealing with dark subject matter in playful and, at times, quite magical way.

Tomm Moore, 93 mins Voices: Brendan Gleeson,  Fionnula Flanagan, Pat Shortt