As I've said before this was a movie I stumbled upon. Not by accident, but by recommendation. And by God am I happy I did. This movie was so interesting from it's art to it's folklore. From it's plot to it's story line and it's characters as well.
As many might now, this movie was based on Irish folklore, and although I don't know about any of it, it was certainly interesting finding out through this movie. Of course that's not to say there was some heavy symbolism that I saw but could not understand, but I digress, I found it interesting as Over the Garden Wall, but what Over the Garden Wall was some bits of exposition for people who don't know about the folklore. Sure it was American folklore, but I've never really dived into it and found it hard to follow.
But with Song of the Sea, you know where they're going and want to be with them through the journey. You know this is a story about the "chosen one" but then they choose to give you a twist and play the brother up more then the sister. It also highlights the loss children feel when they lose someone close to them especially one of their parents. And of course the struggle of the father to keep everything in tact because he's just lost his rock and his love.
I found it so interesting that they lived in a lighthouse on a bay, but what's more is that they explain it. Apparently the mother was a Silky and once the newborn baby was born she had to give up her form so that the baby could live(jeez, what's with that though?) but anyway, the mother bonded more with the boy; Ben and that he resents his sister; Saoirse because he feels that if she was never born, then his mother would be still alive. And when his mother was alive, she would tell him the mythologies of his culture, which was clever enough because it was explained in the final act that she kinda knew that she had to give up her own form. And by the way the final act is the most heart wrenching thing, but that has to wait.
So Ben discover's that Saoirse is actually the next Silky and has to help her find a witch that actually captures people's emotions in a jar making them into stone, but they don't play her as the stereotypical witch/bad guy. There's an inherent sense that she's lost a bit of her sanity, or at least her memories, implying that she may be an Alzheimer's person and she might have dementia as well. But then Ben does everything he can because, he finally realizes that Saoirse is still family and that he should be looking out for her.And also, there is a commentary on feelings and how people need to feel, and it's not just taking feelings away, it won't do much, we need to understand it we need to learn it. And we need to move on from it.
Of course there is always the temptations. That's always going to be there. Oh and obviously if you don't feel you're a stone fellow. But still I digress it's a great lesson for kids and obviously Macha, the witch is like a representation of the grandmother but on this note of feelings. Sometimes, it's best to emote then to keep it in and it's better to express then it is to be confused with it. And that's something animations have done for quite some time especially with Pixar's Inside Out.
Oh and also I should mention the guy who helped him out; the Great Senachai, who's basically an old guy with long strands of beard that cover most of the cave walls
But he's just as mystical and mysterious as you'd imagine. I mean look at him, the hair just dangling everywhere and just that simple drawn art but enhanced by that awe striking animation. And the fact that he can see everything and everyone and can tell where people are, it's just something out of a story book and that's what they were going for and by God, it's so damn good.
But moving on. Apparently Saoirse has to sing her Silky song so that the souls can move on but Ben has to teach her, and help her. Of course, the father is an obstacle because he doesn't really believe that such things could exist, and the way they handle it, you can see the pain in the dad's eye, and Ben, just wanting his dad to listen to him and not judge things face value and just, just go with whatever that's happening around him. And you can see the gears spinning in the dad's head thinking about the consequences that about to happen and decides that the boy knows what he's doing and finally we get to see Ben take responsibility over something.
And even though he's still kinda resentful, which I like, because it's telling kids that no matter how much you want to hate someone, you should still try to help them, especially family. Because family comes first. And we see things transpire and the witch being able to come to terms with her son and that she accepted that what she did, although at first, was something right, she agreed and knew that it was something she took out of perspective and went into an extreme of the other way, making it wrong to do it. And that's so clever and that's so well thought out. And now we come to the part of the mother. Yes the mother comes back in the final third and reconciles with everyone but then you can also see Saoirse, her little head deciding whether to follow her mother and her kind to Valhalla or stay with her family on the home that she is growing up in.
Then finally after a few moments of silence, Ben breaks the silence, and asks if his mom really does have to go, and in which the mother solemnly nods her head with the tears in her eye and you can see the guilt and the sadness of needing to leave her family like that. But Ben continues, and saying that it's okay for her to leave but, that his sister is the only one they have left, implying that although she is part Silky she also part human, and that she is also a fragment of their mother, and the mother looks at Saoirse and then, she says to the mom that she wants to stay and then the mother nods, and says that Saoirse can stay. And you can see the rejoice, even though it's not loud. And then we see the dad, finally able to say to his love of his life, a final good bye, and a final kiss.
And just like that they leave on that note with the sun setting and all of them going into the sky, implying going to heaven/Valhalla. And with that, the end. This movie was not only heart warming, it portrayed what every single person would do if they lost someone, the dad, going to the bar, because he doesn't know how to express his feelings, the son, not wanting to do with anything of the sister. And the sister; although mute at first because she was a Silky and needed the sweater, because magic, but still wants to be part of the family and still wants to hang out with her big brother because she idolizes him since, their father isn't around much. But then what about adult supervision and they deal with that by bringing in the grandmother in and that the grandma wants to take them to the city.
And you can see that the father doesn't really want to let his kids go, but also realizes that he doesn't have much for them as well. And you can see the kids, Ben; who forms a close relationship with the family dog and you can see it, I mean the dog follows him everywhere and that they play around a lot, and you can see the connection, even when leaving Ben promises the dog that he'll come back from him and you know that he might not because he's just a kid and how is he supposed to go back to that island but Ben tries. And you can see that Saoirse follows him around as well, even though Ben keeps trying to keep her away, and I even remember at one point he tells Saoirse off directly. And then he feels bad about it.
In which leads them to the epic adventure of which is the story. I mean the plot is pretty simple, helping the souls move on, but the story line and the character so complex. Because for one, the folklore and to those who don't really know it could get confused but at the same time be intrigued about it and the other because, we tend to focus more on the adventure and use that an excuse to build upon exposition. And you can tell that he very much resents her but still cares in some ways, and you can tell that he regrets driving her off.
Overall, I must say this in ending my review, this was a movie I watched and wanted to review for some time but, neglected to, because I was going through some things and was just finally getting done with it. And so I decided not to let emotions to control my reviews anymore and just let the art speak for myself and truly, this is a movie I was glad to see. And I do plan on re-watching it some time along with boxtrolls and some movies that I've watched but perhaps was too cynical on it.