Ben (David Rawle) and Saoirse (Lucy O’Connell) live with their father Conor (Brendan Gleeson) in a small lighthouse. Their mother Bronach (Lisa Hannigan) disappeared after Saoirse was born. When Saorise finds a pelt that belonged to their mother, she discovers that she’s actually a selkie. After spending a night in the sea with the seals, she washes up on shore where her grandmother (Fionnula Flanagan) finds her. Gran decides that the kids should come to the city to live with her. But there is a mission Saoirse as a selkie has to fulfill.
Moore’s first film The Secret of Kells completely enchanted me. Following that up is tough, but with Song of the Sea, he is more than up to the taks. It’s a sweet story that easily incorporates Irish mythology. Above all, it’s the beautiful imagery again that makes the film what it is.
Tomm Moore has a very distinct style in his films and you can see at once that Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea were made by the same person. It’s highly stylized and especially in it’s use of perspective or 3D it reminds me of the time where the myths behind this story were still handled as truths. It’s simply evocative and transports you to a world where all of these things – selkies, giant owls, faeries and what have you – are just that much more probable.
This magical atmosphere is only enhanced by the wonderful music, above all the song Bronach sings to her children. Lisa Hannigan’s performance of this deceptively simple melody is hauntingly beautiful.
Probably the only thing where I wanted to film different is that I wanted the story to be more about Saoirse and less about Ben. It’s her adventure after all, even if Ben plays a part in it, but the movie tells it mostly from his perspective.
But compared to the rest of the film, this becomes a small criticism indeed. Instead of getting hung up on it, it is an easy thing to let yourself fall into the stunning and magical world Moore created.