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Film Reviews Song of the Sea: An inviting family drama housed in ancient mythology

Inspired by the legend of the "selkies" magical beings who live as seals in water and humans on land, Song of the Sea is a magical adventure steeped in the wondrous worlds of Irish myth.

3 out of 4 stars

Title
Song of the Sea
Written by
Will Collins
Directed by
Tomm Moore
Starring
David Rawle, Brendan Gleeson, Fionnula Flanagan and Lisa Hannigan
Classification
PG
Country
Ireland/Belgium/France/Denmark
Language
English

The sea is a source of fascination and stories – often as a setting for high-waves drama, but also as a place for cover and an underwater mystery. Jules Verne knew it, Hans Christian Andersen knew it and the Beatles knew it – 'we could be warm under the storm, in our little hideaway under the waves.'

Song of the Sea, the Irish animator Tomm Moore's follow-up to 2009's Oscar-nominated The Secret of Kells, is a handcrafted cartoon charmer that tells the quirky adventure story of a seacoast boy and his tiny sister, who is the last of her kind, a song-happy but very sick seal-child.

It's a family drama – a mourning lighthouse-keeping father who lost his shape-shifting siren of a wife is emotionally an island – that is housed in ancient Irish mythology, but set against the backdrop of late 1980s Ireland.

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Voice cast member Lisa Hannigan, an Irish songstress who sings here in a Celtic-ethereal style, features on a soundtrack that is mystic, eerie and freeing. Yeats is whispered: 'Come away, human child/To the water and the wild.'

Inviting? Very much so.

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