The Red Turtle

the red turtle 2016 spoiler free movie review

The Red Turtle [2016] is a Why Not Productions, Wild Bunch, and Studio Ghibli co-production, that follows a nameless man after he is stranded on a deserted island.  When his escape attempts are continuously foiled by a giant red turtle, the man must learn to live off the land.  What follows is an impossible love story.

Silence is Golden: This film’s 80-minute run time is completely without dialogue.  But, don’t let that turn you off.  While the characters aren’t full of words, they’re full of heart.  They’re so easy to connect with, and root for, that watching the film made me feel as if I knew them personally.  In fact, the lack of dialogue makes you sit up and pay attention; each expression, movement, moment, is made all the more important.  And it’s still full of sound, for anyone who’s worried: crashing waves, roiling thunder, cawing seabirds.  These are sounds that mean something within the environment, and they are imbued with the importance they deserve.       

Magical Romance: Studio Ghibli fans will probably be in search of a unique story, with elements of magical realism at its heart, and The Red Turtle does not disappoint.  The story presents us with a literal, magical romance.  A romance that transcends barriers of isolation and reality.  From strangely intelligent hermit crabs to supernatural transformations this movie relishes the strange and unique.  But, the best thing about the magic in this film is that it is integrated so well, it doesn’t feel like magic, it feels like nature. 

Brushstroke Beauty: While the concept might not be everyone’s cup of tea, the animation at least will capture your imagination.  The painstaking process of hand drawn animation is well worth the results.  Glory in the vibrant, underwater worlds, beautiful faces, and the nameless man’s eventual island paradise, all brought to you by the finest brushstrokes.    

A beautiful, little gem of a film.