Screen Squinty’s “Song of the Sea” Review.

Film: Song of the Sea.
Directed By: Tomm Moore.
Released: 2014.
Running time: 93 min.

From the production company Cartoon Saloon that created The Secret of Kells (2006), Song of the Sea is an Irish traditional animation, about the relationships of family, in this case a brother Ben (David Rawle) with his younger sister Saoirse (Lucy O’Connell), whom he holds little affection for due to his mother’s disappearance on the same night of her birth, though events surrounding her disappearance threaten to take his sister as well, and he is forced to face his own failings and fears to protect her.

This is quite simply a brilliant masterpiece of animation. The combination of modern and ancient commingles in both the narrative and the animation style, topping it off with some gorgeous music, wrapping everything together in a solid and creative movie experience.

Ben as the protagonist was somewhat less enjoyable at first as he comes across as a bit to bratty, but it is an honest child-like bratty that eventually is shed as he comes into his own. He realizes he has done wrong and to make up for his attitude, a good character development throughout the film, and your opinion in him somewhat changes as he does.

The narrative itself flows well, and the two siblings relationship grows throughout the movie which was well paced. The layers of similarities between some of the mythological characters and the human characters, particularly Ben and the Mac Lier giant and the destructive nature of tragedy, and Ben’s Grandmother and the immortal Macha as mothers who come across as bad due to their ultimately overprotective actions with their sons, with correlation further enhanced by near similarity in character style and the fact that they were both voiced by the same actress Fionnula Flanagan. These comparative relationships add just the right touch of thoughtful complexity to a contemporary fairy tale, and the theme of the relationships between stories and people.

An animation that is a work of art to be appreciated.

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