The Secret of Kells (2009)
Directed by Tomm Moore
Starring Evan McGuire, Brendan Gleeson and Mick Lally
This film was nominated for Best Animated Feature Film of the Year (2010) in the Academy Awards.
A young boy in a remote medieval outpost under siege from barbarian raids is beckoned to adventure when a celebrated master illuminator arrives with an ancient book, brimming with secret wisdom and powers.
IMDb rating: 7.7
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 91%
Genevieve’s rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
Phillip’s rating: 🔥🔥🔥
Jessica’s rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥
Genevieve: This is our first official wine movie pairing, and I have to say I believe it went very well! This movie is wonderful, the art is so different and intricate. It felt very natural, as if it were drawings from the book Brendan was writing during the duration of the film. The entire film screamed “Celtic”, which is right up my alley. The voice actors for the children were adorable and very talented. I particularly like the scene where Aisling is giving Brendan a hard time about his tree climbing abilities. The dialogue is peppy and the delivery is almost like poetry to me. One thing I will say though, this would be a lot harder to understand if you don’t know very much history of the celtic way.
Jessica: I agree. I wish they showed more backstory. I tried reading the graphic novel, which includes how Brendan ended up at Kells but it is pretty much the film as a comic. Having some knowledge of Irish folklore and history would help people understand the point of the film. It’s nice to watch, but you don’t really understand why a Biblical manuscript is so important. I also agree about the art. It had such bold lines, but within those lines there was so much detail.
Phillip: What really struck me was the couple of scenes that were tri-separated to show a lapse of distance or time. That was so interesting and beautiful. I have never seen that done before and I loved that method of moving the story along. The music was great, as well. It was perfect for the time and added to the story in just the right ways. I agree with you both, though. Having some knowledge of Celtic lore would help so much to the average viewer. Most people don’t know what a druid is or who Crom Cruac is either. The knowledge of both would help more people access this story.
Jessica: I really believe that Brendan could be Saint Brendan. They are from the same era, and it seems like it could be a possibility. They are both travelers as well. I really like the end scene with Brendan when he is older. Such a good scene. But really, this or Coraline deserved the Oscar that year.
Genevieve: I just can’t believe that this lost to Up. I am a huge Disney fan, but this was loads better than Up, in my opinion. I think this is a great movie, and it is one of my favorites, but from a critic’s perspective, I would rank it a four flame… my heart has aided in this rating though, because the story is very accessible to me. The wine was less so, unfortunately. There was nothing bad about the wine, but there was a slight funk to the wine that just didn’t work for me. The smell of roses and plum helped me connect with the story though. Not to mention the story of how the founder of Owen Roe came up with the idea for this wine.
Phillip: Yeah, he toured Europe and found himself one day at an abbey, seated at an abbot’s table sharing a homecooked meal and a delicious table wine. When he got home, he wanted to recreate that experience with this red blend. I think he did a great job. I am got strong smells of leather and dark fruit from mine. The high alcohol really carries this smell very well.
Genevieve: I agree. It has a very low tannin and it taste like I just bit into a plum. I also got some kind of “wet pavement” on the outbreath, but either way, you can tell this has been oaked.
Phillip: I think letting this wine breathe for a bit is the key, but it is really good and it does match the plot. It feels like this is what Abbot Cellach would serve to the visiting illuminator.