Steve G 🟨🟥’s review published on Letterboxd:
As I mentioned on my Grave of the Fireflies review last night, I've made a point in the second half of this year of trying to watch more animated movies.
So I thought for my 4001st review I would try another Cartoon Saloon affair, after really enjoying The Breadwinner just last week. These guys are really on to something, aren't they? Both these films are great, especially this one, and it's pretty fantastic to see a new animation studio emerging, and one that is tackling more mature and dramatic themes.
Song of the Sea is especially wonderful. It retains its balance between being culturally respectful and not having to clue up a possibly uninitiated audience about the background to the story here by presenting it to us piece by piece. Director Tomm Moore respects that we will recognise aspects of this story from other art we may have consumed and doesn't get stuck down a rabbit hole of trying to explain everything in minute detail.
The story is lovely, climaxing with a final 15 minutes that are quite sensational. They nearly had me too! It's mature, playful and emotional with being mawkish or melodramatic. It had me wondering if Moore was inspired by some of the fantasy films of the 1980s as well, it had that kind of feel to it. About a kid or kids stuck in a netherwordly situation and surrounded by fantastic creatures.
Even if he wasn't, it certainly felt reminiscent and as a lover of that kind of thing, I very much appreciated it. There's also the fact that this looks absolutely stunning. I *adored* the animation in this - talk about a style that suits its story and characters perfectly. This is it right here. From the outset I was completely engaged with what I was seeing (and hearing) to the point where I had downed tools on my work and concentrating completely on this.
A decision that was rewarded by a film that I'm fuming about as regards the lack of attention and box office that it got. We can't have nice things - and Song of the Sea is one of the nicest things in existence.