Movie Review: The Red Turtle (2016)


Director: Michaël Dudok de Wit
Release: 2016


After a man is shipwrecked and marooned on a deserted island, he tries to escape.  Each time, however, he finds himself thwarted by a red turtle.  Then a woman arrives.  And the man is no longer so sure he wants to leave.


The Red Turtle is a special film, 80 minutes without dialogue.  Emotion is conveyed through the music and the visuals.  It is quiet, repetitive, seemingly aimless.  It is the story of a life.  There is no plot.

This being said, I suspect that this is a film I did not fully understand.  I love Studio Ghibli and I was excited to watch The Red Turtle at last.  I expected beauty.  A delight in nature.  A quietly reflective film.  This was present.  But somehow, I just didn’t get it.  I found myself counting the minutes until the end.

Admitting as much makes me feel somewhat uncultured.  The film has been nominated for plenty of awards.  It would seem that other people see something in The Red Turtle that I do not.  Maybe one day I will watch it again and I will see something new.  But that day will not be for awhile.

9 thoughts on “Movie Review: The Red Turtle (2016)

    • Krysta says:

      It was a partnership between a French studio and Studio Ghibli so I believe the director was French and Studio Ghibli co-produced. But I keep reading Miyazaki is working on something so maybe Studio Ghibli will return for real one day? I really hope so!

      Liked by 1 person

        • Krysta says:

          Every couple months I run across an article saying that Miyazaki is working on one final film, but it’s difficult to run a search on him and come up with anything related to it. I have seen articles saying Studio Ghibli is now hiring for it, so maybe their site has more.

          Mary and the Witch’s Flower is also coming out soon, I think, and that’s directed by Yonebayashi, who also directed The Secret World of Arietty and When Marnie Was There. But it’s not a Studio Ghibli film.

          Liked by 1 person

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