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Song of the Sea

This lovely new animated Irish fantasy from The Secret of the Kells’ Tomm Moore continues in that earlier film’s magical vein. Song of the Sea’s Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Feature Film of the Year is certainly justified (though it still was not better than the un-nominated LEGO Movie).

A young boy, Ben (v. David Rawle), must protect his little sister, Saoirse (v. Lucy O’Connell), who is part magical Selkie, i.e. she can turn into a seal, from the owl witch, Macha (v. Fionnula Flanagan), not to be confused with Macca, Sir Paul McCartney.

If Ben cannot save Saoirse, all the magical creatures from his late mother’s stories will disappear forever. Brendan Gleeson, who also voiced a character in Moore’s The Secret of the Kells, lends his booming brogue to Ben and Saoirse’s father and the giant Mac Lir, who is imprisoned in stone by his witch mother.

Gorgeous animation and emotional depth highlight Moore’s sophomore feature. Like many of the Gaelic names, some of the legends can be hard to follow, but the main thematic threads—loss, forgiveness, regret—are the same in any language. Here’s to more Moore.