director Tomm Moore
Song of the Sea is a traditional cel-animated feature film from Tomm Moore, one of the directors of 2009’s The Secret of Kells. Song of the Sea came and went from the theaters, even in San Francisco where things like this often have longer legs, in one week and with little or no fanfare. In that time, Felix managed to go see it on his own and liked it quite well.
In a similar highly stylized fashion, Moore animates the story of a “selkie”, a Celtic mythological character who is a human sometimes and a seal sometimes, shedding their coat to walk the land and donning it to re-enter the water. In this case, the selkie is the daughter of a selkie and a lighthouse keeper who also have a human child son as well. It’s a mystical adventure tied to traditional Irish folklore and is filled with magic of many kinds.
My kids both really liked The Secret of Kells, which we saw over five years ago, and they both really enjoyed Song of the Sea as well. I actually liked it a lot better than the earlier film, for whatever reason. Both films feature magical soundtracks composed by French musician Bruno Calais.
The connection to traditional native mythologies reminded me spiritually perhaps of Hayao Miyazaki’s works, the way he employs the natural and pagan spirituality, a return to the soil and the soul of a people and their land. Moore’s style isn’t as lush, which could be my only complaint here. The stylized characters are tied to a more limited style of animation that isn’t as impressive in its own inherent beauty, though it is pleasing in its own way, too.
Frankly, I was surprised how much I liked Song of the Sea. I really did like it. Quite well.