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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Song of the Sea

Tomm Moore, a director of animated films from Ireland, now has two Oscar nominations for Best Animated Feature. Following up his Secret of the Kells comes Song of the Sea, another film rooted in Irish myths. It's a beautiful, enchanting film.

This time the subject is selkies, among other things. These are Irish mythical creatures that are both seal and human. We also get fairies, a giant who has been turned to stone, and an owl witch. For kids (and adults) who love this kind of theme, it is well worth searching out.

The story centers around Ben, a boy of about nine. We see him much younger, when his sister is about to be born. He is excited, and promises to be the best brother ever. But his mother disappears after the baby, Saorsie, is born, and the two kids live with their father on a rocky outcropping in a lighthouse.

Saorsie doesn't speak, and has a thing for the water, which Ben is terrified of. One day, when their mean but well-meaning granny is visiting, Saorsie goes for a nocturnal swim, where we find out she is a selkie, as her mother was. Granny finds her washed up on the beach, and convinces the dad to let her take the kids to the city. Ben does not like this one bit, and resolves to escape and go back, especially to find his loyal sheepdog, Cu.

Along the journey back Ben finds out that the stories his mother told him are true, when he meets fairies and other mystical creatures. He realizes he has not been a good brother, and does his best to save his sister as she starts to fail--she needs her selkie coat.

Song of the Sea might not be ideal for kids who want fast-paced action. It is slow and measured in parts, but at times utterly beautiful, especially in scenes involving the water. It was a worthy nomination for Best Animated Feature.

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