Song Of The Sea
No spoilers here – I watched this movie two times in less than a week and just now, a week after my last viewing I had an epiphany about its story. I’ve not had a film make me think this deeply in a long time. Hollywood animated features ought to be blushing at how good this movie is.
The film is made by Cartoon Saloon in Ireland and has deep roots in Gaelic legends and mythology. It is a follow up to the award winning Secret Of Kells which was a great debut feature from the studio and I will be re-watching asap. This new effort felt much more approachable in terms of story and has quickly become one of favourite animated movies.
It has a great deal of depth and deals with weighty themes of grief and loss. It uses layers of metaphor that take a while to sink in and really reward multiple viewings. Using many hooks and familiar themes it keeps the audience engaged but never loses integrity or clear focus. While many of the Hollywood animated features are getting better, it always feels like they compromise in some area to pander to the lowest common denominator in terms of what’s perceived as necessary for an animated film. There always seems to be something that takes you out of the world and feels like it’s crow-barred in to fit some demographic of the audience.
The problem with feature animation is it takes such a huge team/budget to create that aiming for a wide audience is the only way to make it viable. But stories that are unique and different is what excites me about film. I think Cartoon Saloon have found a decent balance in this movie and made a truly modern classic.
I almost don’t want to recommend this film to people. I think it might be better to discover it on your own terms.