The Secret of Kells (2009)

The Secret of Kells (2009) Poster
Turn the darkness into light

Comments on Movie: The Secret of Kells (2009)
"A charming, gorgeously realized fable about the power of imagination and art to thrive even in the most hostile times." - Todd Brown, Twitch. 

"A beguiling kaleidoscopic indulgence for the eyes and soul." - Michael Rechtshaffen, Hollywood Reporter.

"The Secret of Kells is gorgeous work, and its imagery and themes dovetail perfectly: a story about creating art, artfully created." - Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer.

"This understated Irish charmer deserves to reach a wider audience, if only to remind people that animation is a diverse medium that can be exploited in numerous ways to tell all sorts of stories." - Alistair Harkness, Scotsman.

"The world they live in isn't perfect but it is still a vibrant world. It is magical and we certainly can have a glimpse of the lives of the Kells in the eighth century." - Rosalyn Lim.

Adventure Family Fantasy Religion Irish 2D Animation Animated Feature

The Secret of Kells (2009) Trailer

The Secret of Kells (2009) at a glance
The Secret of Kells (2009) is an award-winning family fantasy film by Irish director Tomm Moore, also a co-founder of Cartoon Saloon. The animated feature is a collaboration between Irish-French-Belgian production. It is loosely based on the origin of the Book of Kells and Celtic mythology. In 2010, The Secret of Kells (2009) is nominated for Best Animated Feature Film at the Academy Awards. 

The Secret of Kells (2009) Synopsis
A bewitching animated fairytale for children and adults alike - This vibrant animation is a spirited retelling of the provenance of Ireland’s most cherished artefact, the Book of Kells. With the Viking hordes approaching, the monks of Kells are forced to turn their attention from transcribing manuscripts to building barricades. The future of the precious book is in jeopardy and it falls to Brendan, young nephew of the abbot Cellach, to save the day.

Movie Review: The Secret of Kells (2009)

Brother Aidan making ink for the book.

The Secret of Kells (2009) is quite unusual but interesting. It has beautiful art direction, both colourful and traditional, and a fictional story of how the Book of Kells is miraculously created. After watching it for some time, it feels like as if we are being teleported into their enchanting world.

Brendan and Aisling collecting gall nuts for ink.

Aside from the visuals, this animated feature has serene music which makes the whole film feels otherworldly. It is magical and we certainly can have a glimpse of the lives of the Kells in the eighth century. Even just a short screen time of the many locations in The Abbey of Kells, it is already able to show the ancient civilisation of the Kells; the abbey is a monastery that shelters people from harm and there is also a scriptorium dedicated to the writing, copying and illuminating of manuscripts. We can see how the society in that era works and live interdependent.

Aisling and Brendan in the forest.

The characters in The Secret of Kells (2009) comes in all sizes and shapes but the main characters such as Aisling and Brendan are particularly sweet and innocent. If I have to mention, my favorite characters would be Aisling and the odd-eyed cat Pangur Bán (I wrote about them below under Favorite Character section). In addition to those, the animation has several themes too. For instance, we should not forsake what we choose to believe in and we will not know what the world can offer until we explore.

Aisling and Aidan escaping from Crom Cruach.

In brief, I love the art and backstory of this film. It is sad that the world they live in isn't perfect but it is still a vibrant world. There are only two things I would complain is that why there is no information on the contents of the completed Book of Iona (Kells) and this film is too short!

PS. I want to watch their new movie, Song of the Sea (2014)!!

Movie Ratings
Will write a page regarding this and add this to all animated feature entries in the future.

Who will like this?
Animation lovers! And, this film is likely to be appealing to those who love religion and mythology!

Surrounded by wolves.

Details of the movie
Director: Tomm Moore
Producer: Paul Young, Didier Brunner, Vivian Van Fleteren
Story: Tomm Moore
Screenplay: Fabrice Ziolkowski
Cinematography: Not sure
Music: Bruno Coulais
Studio: Cartoon Saloon, Les Armateurs, Vivi Film, France 2 Cinéma, Canal+
Starring: Brendan Gleeson, Evan McGuire, Christen Mooney, Mick Lally
Full Credit: [IMDb]
Distributor: Gébéka Films, StudioCanal, Toho, GKIDS
Country: Irish, French, Belgian
Language: English
Genre: Adventure Family Fantasy
Running time: 75 mins
Budget: USD 8,100,000 est.
Box office: Not sure.

Official website(s)

Song of the Sea (2014)
Various Other Animation Studio
Rosalyn's Animated Movie Marathon

The Secret of Kells (2009) Behind the Scenes

Favorite Movie Character
Aisling and Pangur Bán.

My favorite characters are Aisling (at first I thought her name is Ashley, heard wrongly) and the odd-eyed cat Pangur Bán. Aisling is bubbly, smart yet innocent. She wouldn't mind to sacrifice herself for the benefits of others! She is a spirit of the forest but apparently, she is also a beautiful giant wolf! As for the kitty, well, aside from being cute and have two different colored eyes, it does care for people it just met too; it wouldn't let anyone including Brendan to get into trouble! 

The Secret of Kells (2009) Movie Quotes
Will share the complete compilation later. 

  1. I have seen suffering in the darkness, yet... I have seen beauty thrive in the most fragile of places.
  2. I have seen the book, the book that turned darkness into light.
  3. Goose we have to do this. It will be all over in a minute.
  4. Lucky bird, your feathers will become the tools from which we create immortal pages of sacred text.
  5. I don't know why there are artist in caves.
  6. Uncle just want to protect us from the outside. When the Northmen come to Kells, they will make no distinction from young and old. 
  7. You never been outside these walls. 
  8. I don't need to go outside to know how dangerous it is. 
  9. She took a flying dive like a beautiful swan. 
  10. If there were no books, all knowledge would be lost for eternity. 
  11. The Book of Iona outshines all the others.


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