Director: Tomm Moore
Writers: William Collins, Tomm Moore
Six years ago Ben’s mother disappeared, leaving him and his father with baby Saoirse. Ben never knew that his mother was a selkie until the day Saoirse finds her own selkie coat and embarks on a journey to save the magical beings that inhabit our world. Can Ben help his sister or will he allow his sadness and anger to stop him before he even begins?
For a long time I had difficulty beginning this review. Usually when this happens, I feel overwhelmed by the book I have just read or the film I have just watched and I struggle to find the words to express what I wish to say. In this case, I initially believed that was my problem. After all, Song of the Sea is an exquisite film, a delicately beautiful story. But in the end I had to admit to myself my real difficulty–I simply did not enjoy Song of the Sea as much as I thought I should.
Song of the Sea possesses all the elements that normally would make me love a film. It has stunning visuals steeped in Celtic tradition. A plot full of danger and magic and discovery. A winning pair of protagonists–an older brother struggling to be kind to his sometimes annoying (but ultimately endearing) sister. An emphasis on Celtic folklore. It ought to be just the thing that would leave me breathless with its beauty and sighing over its story. Instead, I found myself feeling detached.
I do not know why, but I simply never connected with the protagonists. I felt interest in their journey and wished to see the mystery of Saoirse and her voice resolved. The supporting characters were vaguely interesting as well, if sometimes drawn a bit simply (and I suppose some of them were supposed to be funny and endearing, but I didn’t find them to be particularly either one). Still, I was never truly invested in the outcome of the journey. I never ached or wept for Ben or Saoirse.
In the end, Song of the Sea was, for me, most memorable due to its visuals. The artwork is absolutely lovely and the use of light and dark particularly effective. I truly enjoyed looking at the film, even if the plot never ensnared me. I’m a bit ashamed of my inability to love a film so full of beauty, but somehow I didn’t.