Movie Review: The Most Reluctant Convert: The Untold Story of C. S. Lewis (2021)

The Most Reluctant Convert


Director: Norman Stone
Writers: Max McLean, Norman Stone
Release: 2021


Max McLean stars as an older C. S. Lewis narrating the formative events in his life that led him to convert to theism and then Christianity.

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I am an avid fan of C. S. Lewis and his work, so when I learned that a recent biographical movie had been released, focusing on his conversion story, I was intrigued. My expectations for the film, however, differed vastly from the reality of the film. I assumed that the movie would take the standard approach, filming the events of Lewis’s life from childhood to conversion, with actors depicting various events in story form. This was not so.

The Most Reluctant Convert goes for an artsy approach, beginning with a framing narrative showing actor Max McLean getting ready for his role as an older C. S. Lewis. It then takes the form of McLean narrating C. S. Lewis’s life story as he strolls around local places Lewis presumably frequented, while other actors occasionally pantomime the story in the background. (Sometimes they get to speak.) In the end, I concluded that this story, as told, did not work well as movie. For C. S. Lewis’s conversion story, I would recommend reading Surprised by Joy (on which the film was based). And for those who want it narrated, I would suggest listening to the audiobook.

Truly, I am confused by the existence of this movie since most of it is narration and readers can get that narration by simply listening to an audiobook. I suppose the primary benefit is that there is a visual component, as well, so readers can see McLean walk around England. Personally, however, I’d rather just listen to an audiobook if that is the main experience I am going to get. McLean does a superb job as C. S. Lewis, and I enjoyed seeing Nicholas Ralph, who stars as James Herriot in PBS’ All Creatures Great and Small, as a younger Lewis–though, sadly, he does not have much to do. Altogether, however, I was grateful that the run time was only about an hour and fifteen minutes

Even McLean’s narration of Lewis’s conversion story did not fully move me, mainly because it seems like the type of dialogue that would only resonate with people who already agree with Lewis. Lewis simply drops statements to the effect of, “Only Christianity and Hinduism could be taken seriously,” when one is choosing a religion, and then moves on! Such statements are not, in fact, self-evident to probably the majority of people. If this movie were really meant to make people think about religion and philosophy, I would expect more reasoning and evidence to be given. As it is, however, it seems clear that the film is aimed towards people who are not going to dispute Lewis’s claims and who want a feel-good story about a beloved author’s conversion.

Final verdict? Watch this if you really love C. S. Lewis and his work, but be forewarned that it is not a film in the traditional sense. It’s really just McLean narrating some of Lewis’s thoughts and works onscreen. It didn’t work for me, but others have given it rave reviews, so it must work for someone!

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2 star review

Movie Review: Chaos Walking (2021)

Chaos Walking

I cannot remember the last time I watched a movie as disappointing as Chaos Walking. Knowing that the film is based on the popular teen novel The Knife of Letting Go, I expected an exciting dystopian story about a young man learning that his village leadership harbors secrets. The storyline, however, proves overly simplistic and lackluster, while the characters are undeveloped–as is the romance. Even some fine acting by Daisy Ridley and Tom Holland could not save the film. Chaos Walking is undoubtedly a flop.

Not having read The Knife of Letting Go, I cannot compare the book with the movie adaptation. I can say, however, that the movie made me reconsider my plans to one day read The Knife of Letting Go. Even though dystopian YA books still feel redundant, thanks to the craze for them after the release of The Hunger Games, Chaos Walking shocked me with how simple, unoriginal, and unsurprising the plot is. I knew the big twist about ten minutes into the movie. And what is the point of a dystopian novel if not to surprise readers, along with the protagonist, with some big, terrible truth about the world?

That truth, too, typically says something interesting or important about society, but if there is a message in Chaos Walking, I did not see it. In theory, one should be able to say something insightful about groupthink or mob mentality or even misogyny. But the movie never reaches far enough to provoke thought in the audience. And, in the final moment, it devolves all responsibility for tragedy onto the figure of one man, instead of saying something, too, about the men he led astray.

Chaos Walking is a slow-paced, boring film with a predictable plot and no real depth. I wanted to feel something for the characters, but they are never developed enough for audiences to really sympathize with them, their dreams, and their desires. A half-baked romance/infatuation completes the mess. I would not recommend this film for viewing, nor would I suggest that the producers try for a sequel.

1 star

I Actually Liked Frozen II

Major spoilers for Frozen II ahead!

I waited to watch Frozen II until I could borrow a copy from the library. So, for months, all I heard were cryptic statements from moviegoers that this film was, “Not what people were expecting” and “Very different from the first movie.” No one would say what was apparently off about Frozen II, but, eventually, I started to wonder if anyone had actually enjoyed it. Nevertheless, I put it on hold when it first appeared in the library catalog. And, to my surprise, I found I liked it even more than I had liked Frozen.

In some respects, I can see why some audience members might have had reservations about Frozen II. It is undoubtedly very different the general Disney princess movie. And it is a lot darker than its predecessor. Anna may have turned to ice in Frozen, but that lasted a few seconds, and we all knew she would make it, anyway. In Frozen II, Elsa dies, Olaf melts, and Anna is left all alone to sing a despairing song that suggests she is ready to give up and die herself, rather than face the life ahead of her. Her song is a key part of what makes the film so dark. She gives audiences a taste of what it means to feel real, deep-down grief. She doesn’t quite let them get away with their outsider knowledge that no Disney movie can end so unhappily, right? Surely Olaf and Elsa will come back…right? Even if they can and will, for one moment, Anna makes audiences consider what it would mean if they did not.

Frozen II’s difference from its predecessor is, however, what makes me love it so much. I don’t really need another standard Disney princess film at this point. It was fun to watch Frozen play with Disney princess tropes by revealing how falling in love at first sight can backfire, giving Anna an iceman who likes to “tinkle in the woods” instead of a charming prince, and reminding viewers about the importance of consent in romantic relationships. But, in giving so many knowing nods to past Disney princess tropes, Frozen still feels connected to them. It’s a response to other Disney films, not so much an independent, original film. Plus, it still buys into other Disney princess tropes such as the cute animal sidekick and the happily-ever-after kiss (for Anna, if not for Elsa).

Frozen II breaks away completely from previous princess films, perhaps because it has to. In theory, I suppose it could have given Elsa her own love interest and so remained a typical Disney princess movie. However, that would seem a little repetitive for a sequel. Instead, Frozen II decides to branch out, giving Anna and Elsa an epic adventure–together. (I hated that Frozen is billed as a “sister film” even though they’re not really talking for most of it.) Disney has provided audiences with epic adventures before in films such as Treasure Planet and Atlantis, among others–films that were usually lead by a male character and not part of the princess line. But it feels exciting to have that kind of movie lead by two female protagonists who are breaking out of their traditional Disney princess roles.

I recognize that Frozen II is not a perfect film. Some have pointed out to me that the plotline does not make sense. (Did Frozen’s, though? Really?) I disliked how Anne treated Kristoff, running off without him and seemingly forgetting her existence when she considers there is nothing left to live for with Elsa gone. I questioned why they were talking about marriage when they cannot even communicate with each other on a basic level. However, ultimately, there are a few moments of Frozen II that make it really special, despite its flaws.

Whereas some audience goers seemed uncertain about how dark and how sad the film got, I appreciated the level of emotional depth this gives the film. Anna is overlooked in favor of Elsa and her big numbers, but she is truly the star of Frozen II, demonstrating that one must always do the right thing, even if doing so seems like it could hurt them. Anna decides to work through her seemingly-debilitating grief in order to right a past wrong. And she does so knowing that she will lose everything by doing so. She is truly inspirational and demonstrates a moral courage not many film characters are asked to do.

I also appreciated Elsa’s characterization, however. Even though Elsa is extremely powerful, we see that she continues to struggle with self-doubt. She does not know who she is and she seems unable to accept herself. My favorite part of the film is when, upon searching for someone to give her all the answers, Elsa realizes she is the answer. She already knows who she is and what she can do. All she needs is to is to find the courage to trust in herself, instead of relying on others to giver her confidence. When she accepted herself for the first time, I got chills.

Frozen II has its flaws, perhaps like any story. However, it strengths for me far outweigh its weaknesses. I appreciate the character growth we see in both Anna and Elsa, with Anna choosing to do the right thing no matter the cost, and Elsa discovering her own inner strength. Those are great messages that I can support. And it does not hurt that they are both presented in phenomenal songs.

What did you think of Frozen II?

Klaus (2019 Netflix Original Movie)

I love Christmas movies, and a heart-warming animated film that gets right to the spirit of the Christmas season is an enormous treat.  If you’ve been sitting on the fence about seeing Klaus, I highly recommend it as a movie that will likely be added to the catalogue of films you watch year after year.

The one thing that baffled me a bit about Santa as a child is that there are so many versions of “how Santa came to be,” from movies to books to what random adults are willing to tell you.  Klaus piles on to these versions, even as it’s clearly set in an imaginary world.  So part of me wonders what child me would have done with the idea that Klaus’s version of Santa might not be our version of Santa, while part of me realizes I would likely have been sucked into the story as much as I was as an adult and not overthought the issue.

Because once I got past the fantasy world aspect, a place where postmen are well-trained and apparently venerated (by most people, not all) and where two feuding clans live in perpetual battle in an isolated icy town while a mysterious woodsman lives nearby with a house full of enchanting toys, I was completely charmed.  The world-building is impressive, the plot is engrossing, and the characters easily capture readers’ hearts in spite of any flaws.

Protagonist Jesper starts out spoiled and doing the right things for obviously wrong reasons, but his character arc and his blooming friendship with Klaus make him a character to root for.  And I love that this story is ultimately not just about Klaus or Christmas but ultimately about friendship—the ones that can grow between the feuding families, as well.

Not all of the animated Christmas movies I liked as a kid stand up to rewatching as an adult.  Klaus hooked me first as an adult, and I can imagine myself watching it again and again.


Movie Review: Tolkien (2019)


Director: Dome Karukoski
Writers: David Gleeson, Stephen Beresford
Release: 2019


As a student, Tolkien forms a close friendship with three other boys that will help sustain him through WWI.  Meanwhile, he is also courting fellow orphan Edith Bratt.

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Potential spoilers follow.  (I don’t go into great detail on the film, but if you prefer to know absolutely nothing about what is depicted, read no farther.  I also “spoil” some of Tolkien’s actual biography, if you can do such a thing.)

Tolkien’s early years are so perfect for a movie, it seems a wonder no one made one before.  Along with some of his closest friends, he made a pact that they would try to change the world, try to make it better, through art.  Their love for each other and their belief in their combined powers helped sustain them through WWI.  At the same time, Tolkien was courting fellow orphan Edith Bratt, then suffering a three years’ separation by his guardian’s orders, then trying to woo her back after she became engaged to another man.  Do you want heartbreak?  Drama?  Romance?  Tolkien’s early life had it all.  And so it is truly marvelous that Tolkien the movie had little heart at all.

Tolkien is really just the sketch of a biography; the outline of Tolkien’s early life is there, but the details are almost all artistic license.  For some scenes, this makes sense.  We know, for instance, very little concrete about Tolkien’s courtship; personal letters of that sort are not included in the official Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien.  So Tolkien’s dating scenes are going to be almost entirely made up.  However, we do know a bit more about Tolkien’s close friendships, especially thanks to John Garth’s wonderful Tolkien and the Great War.  And yet the film deviates from what we know, creating scenes that may be entirely plausible (even the copious amounts of alcohol Tolkien and his friends imbibe), but that ultimately lack heart.

The main problem with the film is that I never really believed the friendships depicted on screen could change the world.  And there is no reason for this when we have the source material to make those friendships come alive.  When I read Tolkien and the Great War, I wept.  I wept when I read the letters Tolkien and his friends exchanged.  The film only takes one moment (that I caught) to quote from these letters.  And it was, for me, the most poignant moment of the film.   But the film largely glosses over the deep conversations that bound the T.C., B.S. together, instead showing them drinking and messing about.  Realistic behavior of boys?  Certainly?  A testimony to the lasting impact of this group on Tolkien and his career?  I didn’t see it.

The film also, for reasons I cannot comprehend, entirely glosses over the details of Tolkien’s service in WWI.  There is a lot of interesting material to work with here, from Tolkien’s late enlistment due to his desire to focus on school (and the contempt he hinted he received as a result) to his time a signal officer.  Yes, Tolkien spent most of his time recovering from trench fever–a fact that probably saved his life.  But I still do not understand the decision to depict the entirety of his WWI experience as feverishly stumbling about the trenches while hallucinating fantasy figures.  In this case, it seems to me that real life is actually far more interesting than art.

In addition to these criticisms, I cannot help but also note that I agree with the reviewers who were shocked to find practically no mention of religion in a biography of Tolkien.  Catholicism fundamentally shaped Tolkien’s life, his philosophy, and his writings.  Catholicism certainly would have influenced his idea of how to “change the world” and it also played a role in how he perceived his mother’s death–he believed she died, in part, from being cast out by her family after she converted.  Catholicism also played a role in his courtship as he wished Edith to convert before they married.  In short, Tolkien’s religion colored essentially every aspect of his life.  A biography that ignores this must always be a biography that fundamentally misunderstands and even misrepresents who Tolkien was.

I did not expect the film to be entirely historically accurate, but I did expect it to capture something of the spirit of Tolkien’s life.  To me, Tolkien is a nice period film about a boy growing up and falling in love, but it is a film that feels like it could be about practically any fictional character.   It lacks inspiration, never truly delving into what made Tolkien, Tolkien.

*If you are interested in reading more about Tolkien’s early life, I highly recommend John Garth’s Tolkien and the Great War.  I can’t say enough how much I loved this book and how much it contributes to our understanding of Tolkien’s life and work.  It is truly a seminal work in Tolkien studies.  Go read it, everyone!

3 Stars

The Princess Switch (2018): Netflix Movie Review


When Stacy De Nova, a baker from Chicago, travels to Belgravia with her friend/employee Kevin to take part in the annual Belgravian baking competition, she discovers that she looks just like Duchess Margaret, who is set to marry the Belgravian prince.  Margaret wants to know what it feels like to be a “normal person” and suggests the two secretly switch places for a couple of days, but things get far more complicated that the two could have guessed.

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Cheesy Christmas movies are very popular, as the Hallmark Channel knows very well, so it’s no surprise that Netflix has jumped on board to make some of their own.  This season sees the release of a sequel to their original film A Christmas Prince, as well as Princess Switch, a movie that stars Vanessa Hudgens playing both a duchess from the imaginary Belgravia and a professional baker from Chicago who look like one another and trade places for a couple days.

For full cheesy fun, I have to rate The Princess Switch highly.  It combines a lot of elements viewers love in these types of films: royalty, baking, switching places, shenanigans ensuing when the protagonists fall in love with the “wrong” people. There’s also the charming imaginary kingdom that goes all-out for Christmas and an adorable child who stars alongside the adult characters. Netflix seems to figure that you might as well smash all this together and get the ultimate fun, feel-good film, and they’re not necessarily wrong.

In terms of actual plot there seems to be less at stake in The Princess Switch than there could be.  There are a couple hiccups, but I wouldn’t say there’s a highly dramatic climax.  On one hand, this means the film doesn’t necessarily have the strongest narrative arc and things might feel a bit flat to viewers.  On the other hand, if you’re in the book to just watch something fun and positive, this is a great choice. There are times in my life when I really just don’t want to watch terrible things happens to characters, so keeping things relatively upbeat can be a nice change.

Finally, I think rating this as a Christmas movie is a bit more difficult.  On one hand, I have to admit Christmas is woven in. It happens at Christmas. Belgravia has a fun Christmas village the characters keep visiting.  All the interior settings are decorated.  People talk about Christmas spirit.  Etc.  On the other hand, something about it really did just feel like background scenery to me, and I think the Christmas feeling could have been more strongly infused.

So, should you watch this?  If you like feel good Christmas movies of this type, this will be right up your alley.  If you’re looking for quality cinema, maybe not.  This is fun and fluffy, and I enjoyed it, but I don’t think anyone’s claiming it’s great art.


Movie Review: The Crimes of Grindelwald (Spoiler Free)


Director: David Yates
Writers: J. K. Rowling
Release: 2018


As Grindelwald rallies his supporters, Dumbledore contacts magizoologist Newt Scamander to track him down.  Meanwhile, Tina is on the trail of an Obscurial, hoping to find him before another Ministry employee eliminates him.


Note: This review generally mentions the overall plot of The Crimes of Grindelwald, but does not reveal the content of any major plot twists.  If you prefer to view the film knowing absolutely nothing, you may want to return to read this review later.

The Crimes of Grindelwald promises an exciting expansion to the Wizarding World as viewers travel with the characters to 1920s Paris.  However, despite a strong cast and a host of adorable baby nifflers, the film ultimately fails to captivate.  More than anything, it feels like an overly complicated middle installment cobbled together with over-the-top plot twists and familiar names shoehorned in to please viewers.  I left the theatre feeling a little like J. K. Rowling has lost some of her magic.

The Crimes of Grindelwald loses a lot of enchantment simply because it is difficult to follow.  Throughout the film, I frequently found myself doing a mental check to ensure that I was still following the plot and knew who (most of) the characters were.  A totally immersive experience was impossible when I kept having to leave the Wizarding World to recap the action to myself.  Furthermore, as the film progressed, I became increasingly aware of just how silly all the complicated maneuvering is.  Though Grindelwald is supposed to be a powerful wizard and a terrifying villain, he spends his days lazing about in Paris seeking to win a teenage Obscurial to his side.  Everyone else, instead of trying to locate Grindelwald or stop him, is also chasing the Obscurial.  The entire film is about a bunch of people trying to find a boy when they are not even sure who he is or why or if he might be important.  I spent a good deal of the film feeling baffled by this and wondering when (or if) the point would ever become clear.

Of course, the real reason for spending an entire film chasing a teenage boy instead of tracking down Grindelwald seems to be that we need material for three more films.  Perhaps even material enough to get from the 1920s to the 1940s, which is when Grindelwald, according to Rowling’s earlier information, was supposed to be at his height.  (Unless, of course, Rowling is choosing to ignore her own timelines–a possibility fans have been considering due to various revelations in this film.).  The result is that The Crimes of Grindelwald never feels like a high-stakes film; it is simply a middle film setting up future possibilities.

The real let-down for me, however, is the inclusion of a number of quite silly plot twists.  Characters act out of character.  Background stories are so convoluted and far-fetched they defy belief.  New revelations, apparently added just to shock and surprise viewers, contradict what we already know about the Wizarding World.  In short, the film simply is not well-written–a real surprise from a writer whom I have always admired for her detailed worldbuilding and carefully-placed foreshadowing.

The Crimes of Grindelwald will appeal to hardcore Harry Potter fans longing to learn more about the Wizarding World. It is hard not to love the film a little, despite its flaws, simply because we get to return to a world we love.  However, I cannot deny that The Crimes of Grindelwald is rather a muddle of a movie.

3 Stars

In Which I Think People Are Missing the Point of The Devil Wears Prada

Devil Wears Prada

Several weeks ago, I watched The Devil Wears Prada for the first time. The movie was released in 2006 (and the book, which I haven’t read, in 2003), so I thought I was a little late to this party.  Imagine my surprise, then, to come across recent articles on the Internet where people were talking about how much they loved the movie and how many times they’ve seen it.  Imagine my greater surprise to see many, many people saying how they think Andy’s boyfriend Nick is a horrible person for breaking up with her and “not supporting her career.” I generally try not to be too snarky online, but in my complete bafflement I must ask: Did these people even watch the same movie that I did???

The entire point of The Devil Wears Prada is to show how Andy’s career (and her boss, Miranda Priestly) take over her life in completely unreasonable ways. Even if we ignore the other issues the movie raises about the fashion magazine industry (for example, how much the employees are judged on appearance and how frequently Andy is insulted for being “too fat” or eating the “wrong” things), the core argument of the movie is that Andy is consumed by her job–and that she has to be consumed if she wants to keep it, if she wants what people in the industry call “success.”

Nick breaks up with Andy because he literally never sees her. One prime example is when Andy is responsible for delivering “the book” (the mock-up of the magazine issue) to Miranda.  “The book” isn’t done until 10 pm. Andy must wait in the office until it is done. Then, she must deliver it to Miranda’s home. Then she has to go to her own home (which is likely nowhere near Miranda’s since Miranda is rich and Andy is not). Basically, Andy probably got up at 6 am to go to work, and she will not return to her apartment until, say, midnight, when she will immediately go to sleep so she can get up at 6 am the next day.

It’s one thing for Nick to feel generally happy for Andy if this is the type of life she wants to lead (and the movie suggests it’s not anyway). It’s another thing to expect that Nick will stay in a relationship for someone he sees only on the weekends (and maybe not even then).  Nick-critics have argued, for instance, that he’s a baby for being upset that Andy misses his birthday celebrations because, as an adult, he should realize they can celebrate on a day that isn’t actually his birthday.  But the argument of the movie is that there is no other day. Andy will never be free.  She will never have more than a few minutes here and there to spend with him.

People may leave watching The Devil Wears Prada with different views on the fashion magazine industry. (Is it fair to expect this level of commitment from people? Should they have to choose between a career and a relationship? Between a career and any other outside interests? Is that what it honestly takes to be “the best?”)  However, Nick isn’t the one who signed up for the lifestyle; Andy is.  I think he gets a free pass for breaking up with someone he literally never sees anyway. That doesn’t make him a bad person; it makes him someone who actually wants a relationship with his girlfriend.


Maleficent Surprised Me with Its Thoughtful Look at a Character’s Fall and Redemption

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When I first heard of Maleficent, I determined not to watch it.  Sleeping Beauty is my favorite Disney princess film (though I suppose Moana will have to be a close contender now) and I felt no need to see a remake when I value the film so much for its artistic beauty.  Furthermore, I was troubled by what I read of the decision to make Maleficent a sympathetic character.   Maleficent’s character in the animated film represents pure evil.  She explicitly announces that she has aligned herself with the powers of hell.  And Prince Philip defeats her with the Sword of Truth and the Shield of Virtue.  It is an allegory about the way in which virtue triumphs over sin.  I felt that giving Maleficent a sympathetic backstory would ruin the simplistic beauty of this message.  However, the other day I found myself watching Maleficent anyway.  I was immediately interested in the story the film has to tell.

Before I go father, it is important to note that Maleficent is not an attempt to rewrite Sleeping Beauty or to get viewers to sympathize with the villain of the animated film.  It does not say that what Maleficent does in Sleeping Beauty is right,  justified, or understandable.  Maleficent is its own version of the story, with its own characters (though they share names with the characters of the animated version), and its own world.  It stands next to Sleeping Beauty just as any number of other retellings stand beside it without asking their audiences to change their understanding of what happens in Disney’s animated film.  So I judge it on its own merits without comparing it to Sleeping Beauty.

Maleficent is, as its title suggests, not a story about Sleeping Beauty at all.  Rather, it is the story of how Maleficent’s innocence is shattered through betrayal and suffering, how she seeks revenge, and how she finally learns to love again.  It is the story of a fall and then a story of redemption.  In a way, it is the story of Cinderella, if Cinderella were not perpetually industrious, cheerful, and good, but instead turned bitter and vengeful as a result of her pain.  Cinderella turns outward and chooses love; Maleficent turns inward and chooses hate.  That hate takes her on dark paths that she is not sure how to escape.  In the end, Maleficent’s story teaches her that sin has consequences that are far-reaching and sometimes difficult to mend, even if you are truly sorry for the actions you have performed.

Despite this thoughtful exploration of the power of love, I have seen and heard  many criticisms about the decision of the film to have Maleficent wake Aurora rather than Prince Philip.  However, I think it is important to remember that a story that celebrates types of love other than the romantic does not by nature say that romantic love is therefore meaningless.  Rather, Maleficent reminds viewers that not only erotic love has the power to heal, to unite, or to seek forgiveness.  Maleficent might be read as the story of a mother’s love  and a celebration of the ways in which mothers sacrifice for their children to try to keep them safe.  A mother’s love does not replace erotic love.  It is different and separate.  But that does not mean it is not worth honoring.

Although I remain a little skeptical of Disney’s plans to remake seemingly all of their animated films, I have to admit that the remakes I have seen so far seem very thoughtful.  They are not the same stories but in live-action, but rather expansions of the old stories that ask viewers to consider other types of relationships.  Perhaps this will bother some viewers.  But we always have the animated films to enjoy, as well.

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.