Heartache and loss spur Songs of the Sea into action when one family’s happiness is shattered following mother, Bronaugh’s, disappearance immediately after giving birth to daughter Saoirse.
Time doesn’t appear to have healed old wounds in this lovable tale. Six years on and David Rawle is excellent as heartsick, bully brother Ben who can’t seem to find a way to forgive his little sister for their mother’s unexplained absence.
It is only when chance forces the two on a magical journey that the truth about his mute sister and her destiny to free the spirit world and its fairies from an owl witch’s curse is unearthed.
Director Tomm Moore sucks us into his enchanting world with stunning imagery. Like a storybook jumping to life, the carefully detailed animation has a delicate, romantic feel about it that adds richness to the fantasy of the story.
Despite endearing qualities a few things niggle about the film.
With a smooth, otherworldly rhythm the songs definitely have purpose and significance in the movie. It is, however, the frequent repetition that dulls their charm towards the end.
More importantly, some strands of the plot are left unresolved by the end of the film. Questions still bubble surrounding Bronaugh’s (Lisa Hannigan) disappearance and how an owl witch can be mother to a giant is beyond understanding.
The character of bereaved husband Conor (Brendan Gleeson) also feels a little one note. Almost as if his presence needed bulking up to make him feel more interesting.
That aside Song of the Sea has a wonderfully emotive core as the fragile relationship between brother and sister grows entering new territories.