Song of the Sea (PG)
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This came out in 2014, but I didn't see it until 2021. It's the second installment in the "Irish Folklore Trilogy", following The Secret of Kells and followed by "Wolfwalkers". But the movies aren't related to each other, so it doesn't really matter what order you watch them in, or whether you even see all of them. Anyway, I was looking forward to watching it for years, and I wouldn't say I was disappointed by it at all, though I also wouldn't say I liked it quite as much as I hoped I would.
Wikipedia informs me that it's set in the 1980s, which sounds right, I guess. And of course it's set in Ireland. There's a lighthouse on a small island just off the mainland, and a man named Conor lives in the lighthouse with his wife, Bronagh, and their young son Ben, as well as a sheepdog named Cú. On the night that Bronagh gives birth to a baby girl named Saoirse, she disappears into the sea, leaving both children to be raised by Conor alone. The story then jumps to Saoirse's sixth birthday (which happens to be the day before Halloween). Before she was born, Ben had been looking forward to his sister's arrival, but now he just seems annoyed by her all the time. (It isn't stated, but I couldn't help wondering if he blames her for their mother's disappearance.) On her birthday, Conor's mother comes to visit. That night, Saoirse finds a coat locked in a chest, puts it on and goes out to sea to frolic with seals, turning into a seal herself. Her grandmother later finds her washed up on the shore, in human form again, and decides Saoirse and Ben need to move with her to the city, leaving Conor and Cú alone. But Cú runs away to follow the children.
Oh, I probably should mention that Saoirse is mute. Anyway, on Halloween night, Ben and Saoirse run away from their grandmother's house, attempting to return home. Ben wants to follow a map he drew, while Saoirse wants to follow some magical little lights that appear when she plays a seashell their mother had given Ben the night Saoirse was born (which Ben resents her always taking). Along the way they have some strange adventures that I don't want to spoil any details about. But ultimately, there's a bittersweet ending. Anyway, it was definitely an interesting movie, with some nice animation. And like "The Secret of Kells", it was in some ways reminiscent of Hayao Miyazaki's films. And I don't know what else to say.