Song of the Sea

September. 06,2014
Rating:
8.1
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Trailer Synopsis Cast Keywords

The story of the last Seal Child’s journey home. After their mother’s disappearance, Ben and Saoirse are sent to live with Granny in the city. When they resolve to return to their home by the sea, their journey becomes a race against time as they are drawn into a world Ben knows only from his mother’s folktales. But this is no bedtime story; these fairy folk have been in our world far too long. It soon becomes clear to Ben that Saoirse is the key to their survival.

Brendan Gleeson as  Conor / Mac Lir (voice)
Fionnula Flanagan as  Granny / Macha (voice)
David Rawle as  Ben (voice)
Pat Shortt as  Lug (voice)
Jon Kenny as  Ferry Dan / The Great Seanachaí (voice)
Lisa Hannigan as  Bronach (voice)
Lucy O'Connell as  Saoirse (voice)
Colm Ó'Snodaigh as  Mossy (voice)
Liam Hourican as  Spud / Bus Driver (voice)
Kevin Swierszcz as  Young Ben (voice)
fairy tale
lighthouse
folk music
lighthouse keeper
irish
swimming
dog
seal
irishman
folklore
irish music
underwater cave

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Reviews

Reno
2018/02/24

If you ever watched 'The Secret of Kells', you will never think of skipping it. Though, people watch it in the interest of the Oscar connection. From all the nominees it is the clear winner according to me, even far better than the real winner 'Big Hero 6'. The American Academy Awards had failed to recognise the true ingenuity. That does not stop win the heart the of millions of children around the world. As for the adults, it makes you feel young again for a while. Lots of humour in it with faint emotions at the end along the kids favoured flavour throughout.Far East and far West film industries ruling the animation production, but Tomm Moore from Ireland is trying to open the new gate from the European division. Not many people are aware of him, one more movie and its success may lead to the greater heights for sure. This animation technics are very unique, but not the first time in the use.The character illustrations were cuter to enchant the young kids. Watching the movie is like reading a children's storybook with the large pictures everywhere and a couple of lines of words in the corner of the page. Like the anime in Japan and 3D animation in Hollywood, this would mark the Euro on the map. There are many animations are made and still making in Europe, but this one is the new perspective of hope to reach all the major and remote places of the Earth. Wish it moves in the right direction.If you had known how all the fairy tales work, you would feel you can predict this story because, you know defeating evil, breaking curses, the happy endings are the usual part. So what matters is the storytelling, how well the stories are presented on the screen. This film excels in that point, and the music is the another highlight of the movie. Whoever the music director/composer I must praise him. Almost a year ago I saw the trailer for the first time and I felt like I already loved the movie, mainly because of the music.''Hold this shell to your ear and listen carefully. You will hear the song of the sea.''In his earlier movie the director told a simple and short story extraordinarily, and still I hum that beautiful 'Aisling song' sometime. This movie had a wonderful adventure story of a boy called Ben and his little sister Saoirse. In the journey of running away from an owl witch, the magical creatures and an ancient seashell guide them a path. On the right time the title song makes the way to delight next 10 minutes of the crucial segment in the narration. I love the original version, in Irish even though I don't understand. It was good and catchy, even for the grown ups as well. Feels like, want to visit those places from the movie, but sadly our only option is Disneyland, huh.Disney and Studio Ghibli are the king and queen of fairy tale movies. No one would, but if you are mildly fed up of those, here the new dimensional fresh tales from the Ireland's folklore. Though, it sets in the modern world, but does not abandon to bring the key factors. Like the ancient meet the modern world with the same intensity. Kind of new to hear the words like Selkie, Macha etc., but, brand new for the people who live thousands of kilometers away in the different continents. Animation movie fanatics would love it, but if there are any children like niece and nephew in your home or visits you, watch it with them on that occasion and you would feel differently.9/10

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morrison-dylan-fan
2016/11/06

Under the sea.---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 F?rie'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.

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Cartoonreviews
2016/07/13

Expects you to know a lot about Selkies going in---First off, I myself found this movie pretty boring. It's a story about a boy whose sister is a Selkie (a mythological seal person which I knew absolutely nothing about this myth going in and that hampered the movie immensely)Yes, I understand that this is an Irish movie, and I am sure that every kid in Ireland knows the mythology of Selkies, but as an American....I never learned about Selkies and this story does a TERRIBLE job explaining what they are. They tell you some facts, but leave a lot to 'you should have done your research before you started watching this'. This type of story is when a 'fish out of water' protagonist would have worked. But because everyone in the story knows what Selkies are, they don't feel the need to explain it. The main character finally gets the revelation and goes 'you're a selkie!' and i am there going 'that's fantastic.....what's a selkie?' The only reason I had any idea what was going on with the lore of this was because I watched this with my sister and she informed me the rules of Selkies that she learned from A different movie entirely. That is one of the places where the movie falls incredibly flat. You can't introduce such a foreign concept and just assumes everyone will know it because it is premiered in that country. If you wish to have a worldwide audience, you have to explain your lore thoroughly so no one gets left behind.Other than that, I really didn't care for any of the characters. The girl was quiet and annoying, the boy was uninteresting, and the mother was a terrible terrible person. I know everyone is heralding this movie as wonderful and beautiful, but I have to say that I didn't really enjoy it. I was too confused about the mythology and the characters weren't interesting enough to draw me in. The father was a jerk and the kids were boring. It wasn't a TERRIBLE movie I just....didn't care. And that's almost worse than being bad. I'm probably going to get a negative response as I didn't give this movie an amazing score, but, I can't help how I feel. I didn't enjoy it and a 5 is exactly what I feel it deserves.

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Ghaidaa Kotb
2016/01/06

Just beautiful---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.

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rcolgan
2015/07/16

Breathtaking Animation and An Emotional Story---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.

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TheLittleSongbird
2015/07/11

Really does cast an enchantingly intoxicating spell on anyone watching---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

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FairlyAnonymous
2015/07/02

Where to begin... THIS is what animation should be doing---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.

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Anssi Vartiainen
2015/06/24

One of the few remaining hopes for traditional animation---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.

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intelearts
2015/05/29

562nd Review: Oscar Contending Masterpiece---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.

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Robin WeinGuard
2015/04/10

Great visuals, but so-so story.---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.

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