I wasn’t really expecting much at the beginning of this movie. After all, I am more used to the japanese animes kind of drawing. Ten minutes into the movie, I almost wanted to turn it off, but was too lazy to do so in my chair. After a while I found myself fascinated by the artistic drawing of it. Lucky me this movie turned out to be quite good. Kinda reminds me of Caroline. Ooops… I meant, Coraline. 😉
The setting is quite simple. I will let wikipedia do the honor:
The story is set in the ninth century. Obsessed with building a mighty wall to keep marauding Viking raiders from destroying the Monastery of Kells, Abbot Cellach expects his young nephew Brendan to follow in his footsteps. Brendan has apprenticed in the scriptorium of the monastery and has heard the story of Aidan of Iona, a master illustrator. Later, Aidan himself comes to the monastery, accompanied by his cat Pangerbon. Aidan has escaped from the Vikings who have destroyed his own monastery, and has brought the Book of Kells he is working on. Aidan shows Brendan the beauty of art and stimulates his creativity and fantasy. His eyes and hands are failing, and he needs Brendan to assist. Brendan is forbidden to leave the monastery, but Aidan sends him into the forest to look for gall nuts to make ink. A faerie/wolf spirit, Aisling, introduces him to a wider world. Brendan needs to stand up to his uncle and face his greatest fears in his quest to complete the book.
Well, if it was too much to read, here is a simpler list:
Brendan: The main character, the boy, you cannot miss him.
Cellach: Brendan’s uncle, the very tall guy in red, thinking about building the city wall the whole time.
Aidan: The older man with the book, somewhat like a mentor to Brendan.
Pangerbon: Aidan’s white cat, the name is not important.
Aisling: The girl with long white hair in the forest.
Just to keep in mind that the overarching conflict/struggle in the movie is the tension between finishing the book and building the city wall.
You can read a more detailed review by A. O. Scott at NY Times. But you probably don’t want to spoil yourself too much beforehand.