James’s review published on Letterboxd:
“The world's more full of weeping than you can understand.”
Funny this came out shortly after Studio Ghibli’s Tale of Princess Kaguya—it’s almost as if they are from the same seed, grown in different, culturally-rich countries. Drawing from their respective art, music, and folklore traditions, the films follow a young rural girl, bound to a supernatural destiny, who must reckon with the weight of the world’s grief. With so much visual splendor and tradition on display, there's a confident, timeless aura in both that makes the (very) human conclusions feel earned and achingly true. Though, in the end, Kaguya is fairly enigmatic while Song of the Sea takes the premise in a decidedly (and unsurprisingly) Western direction: in our fallen world, grief is linked with love, to dampen one is to null the other. Though we live fleeting, mortal lives, love is eternal. And if "the world’s more full of weeping" and grief than we can understand, then it must be full of love.