Home Video Picks & Passes 05.10.20

Movies about the sea for family viewing.

The Secret of Roan Inish
The Secret of Roan Inish (photo: via IMDb)

The Secret of Roan Inish (1994) — PICK

Song of the Sea (2014) — PICK

Selkies rule the latest streaming releases on Amazon and Hulu in a pair of glorious family films made 20 years apart.

(What are selkies? Marine creatures of Irish mythology, half seal, half woman. Unlike mermaids, they shed their sealskins, walk on land as women, and sometimes marry men — but need their sealskins to return to the sea.)

New on Amazon Prime, The Secret of Roan Inish, directed by John Sales, is a live-action tale about a young girl named Fiona living with her grandparents in an Irish fishing village.

There she learns the family lore that connects her people to the abandoned island of Roan Inish and the seals that swim the nearby waters — of her young brother, lost at sea, or was he?

New on Netflix, Tomm Moore’s Song of the Sea is a gorgeous, almost Miyazakian animated excursion into Irish mythology and culture. Faerie magic and Catholic iconography stand side by side, from the fairy fort of the Deenashee to the holy well with its sacred images.

Both are quiet, gentle films that richly reward patient viewing.


CAVEAT SPECTATOR: The Secret of Roan Inish: Mildly perilous circumstances. Song of the Sea: Some frightening scenes; stressful family situations, including loss of a parent. Both fine family viewing; potentially upsetting to very sensitive youngsters.

Michelangelo, “The Last Judgment,” 1536-1541

Dare We Admit That Not All Will Be Saved?

“To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God’s merciful love means remaining separated from him forever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called ‘hell.’” (CCC 1033)