Ireland | Denmark | Belgium | Luxembourg | France 2014
Opening December 24, 2015
Directed by: Tomm Moore
Writing credits: William Collins, Tomm Moore
Principle actors: Animation: David Rawle, Brendan Gleeson, Lisa Hannigan, Fionnula Flanagan, Lucy O'Connell, Jon Kenny
“… Remember me in your stories, and your songs. Know that I will always love you.” As a wee lad, his mothers softly sung songs and magical stories enriched his life, but that was six years past. Stuck minding his silent sister Saoirse (O'Connell), Ben (Rawle) barely notices her wading into the sea – thank goodness for Cú, their sheepdog. Because, their loving father (Gleeson) is so despondent he struggles just to maintain the lighthouse. Granny (Flanagan) arrives, they celebrate Saoirse’s birthday, and afterward Connor heads to the mainland, Granny to bed. Ben scares Saoirse telling a mischievous tale about the giant Mac Lir and the Owl Witch, whereby Saoirse plays the shell awaking her Selkie-self. With the outcome that on Halloween, killjoy Granny drags them, sans Cú, to the city. Whence, Faerie creatures and Macha, due to Saoirse’s melody, are alerted of her presence. The Owl Witch’s determination is awesome. Encounters with Faeries’ and the Great Seanachai (Kenny) prepare Ben for the truth that Bronach (Hannigan) shows him. With great panache, the undeterred Ben chooses a course guided by love.
Long, lyrical tales are intrinsic to Irish, Scottish and Celtic traditions, history, and storytelling. Tomm Moore obviously listened well to childhood stories. With William Collins’ wonderful screenplay based on Moore’s idea, Moore’s second feature—both Oscar® nominated—is an example of quintessence animated storytelling. The Voice actors are masterful. Kilkenny, Ireland-based Cartoon Saloon’s traditional animation has profundity, and magical, mesmerizing qualities. Bruno Coulais’s spellbinding music stylishly fuses all. Make your Holidays memorable by seeing this enchanting film; its timelessness is surely entwined in the fathomless splendors of love. 94 minutes. (Marinell H.)