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Song of the Sea

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Ireland, Denmark, Belgium · 2014
Rated PG · 1h 33m
Director Tomm Moore
Starring Brendan Gleeson, Fionnula Flanagan, David Rawle, Pat Shortt
Genre Family, Animation, Fantasy

The story of the last Seal Child’s journey home. After their mother’s disappearance, Ben and Saoirse are sent to live with Granny in the city. When they resolve to return to their home by the sea, their journey becomes a race against time as they are drawn into a world Ben knows only from his mother’s folktales.

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The Globe and Mail (Toronto) by

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.


The Hollywood Reporter by Boyd van Hoeij

The narrative’s general rites-of-passage layout is of course extremely familiar, though, especially for foreign audiences, many of the stories-within-stories and characters that dot this particular journey will feel new as well as delightful.


Slant Magazine by Carson Lund

Even as it entertains increasingly far-fetched detours, the film's folkloric narrative offers an ideal vehicle for this pictorial play.


The New York Times by Jeannette Catsoulis

Song of the Sea moves delicately but purposefully from pain to contentment and from anger to love. On land and underwater, the siblings’ adventures unfold in hand-drawn, painterly frames of misty pastels, sometimes encircled by cobwebby borders that give them the look of pictures in a locket.


Wall Street Journal by Joe Morgenstern

Song of the Sea was made primarily, though not exclusively, for young children. Its unhurried pace will serve as an antidote to, or even an inoculation against, the mad rush of most contemporary animation. This is a film made by the other crowd, people who care about helping children to care about the medium of film for the rest of their lives.


The Dissolve by Noel Murray

Song Of The Sea is a triumph of design and animation, populating lavishly detailed, patterned backdrops with characters so simplified that they could’ve been cut-and-pasted from a newspaper comic strip.


Variety by Peter Debruge

Song of the Sea is differentiated not only by its rich visual design — grayer and more subdued than “The Secret of Kells,” yet still a marvel to behold — but also by its ethereal musical dimension, another collaboration between composer Bruno Coulais and Irish folk band Kila.


Village Voice by Sherilyn Connelly

The picture is beautifully rendered in pencils and watercolors, with some CG, giving it an appropriately timeless storybook look, even though it's set in a mostly modern world of buses and 3-D glasses.

63 by Simon Abrams

Visually splendid, but generically flat-footed, Song of the Sea is an animated fantasy that comes close to greatness, but is rarely as clever as it is comforting.

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