Song of the Sea

Irish animator Tomm Moore follows his celebrated feature debut, The Secret of Kells (2009), with another ravishing fantasy based on Irish folklore. A widowed lighthouse keeper raises his small son and daughter by the sea; the girl, whose mother died giving birth to her, has never spoken a word, and after her brother gives her a conch-shell horn their mother left behind, she’s adopted by a school of seals as a selkie (half person, half seal). Moore wrote the lightly plotted story, and though it lacks the historical and religious weight of Kells, that matters less than you might expect because in each movie the story is just an excuse for him to indulge his decorative obsessions. Kells was based on a Celtic illuminated manuscript, and a two-dimensional aesthetic predominates here as well, with flattened backgrounds, geometric motifs in nearly every shot, and towns ironed out into cubist conglomerations of buildings. With the voices of Brendan Gleeson and Fionnula Flanagan.