The Red Turtle

This is a tiny movie about finding love in unexpected places and eventually saying goodbye. It will touch your heart in totally unexpected ways.

the-red-turtleThis was one of the five animated films nominated for an Oscar this year. It is a darling little film that exerts a magnetic emotional force while simultaneously leaving you wondering “what in the hell am I doing here?”

Directed by Michael Dubok deWit, the film involves absolutely no dialogue. Spanning 1 hour and 20 minutes, it tells a story of a shipwrecked young man who tries to build a raft to escape from his isolated island. As his raft is continually destroyed from below by what seems to be a possessed red sea turtle, our poor equivalent of Robinson Crusoe can’t figure out what in God’s name is going on.

When the giant turtle comes on shore, our lad attempts to club it to death out of anger. Everything changes when our remorseful young man sees the turtle morph into a beautiful young lady. Love follows, a son is born, and the movie develops an emotional appeal that you cannot resist.

Imagine Tom Hanks in Cast Away (2000) developing a relationship with a woman who used to be an aggressive turtle as opposed to a volleyball and you will have some idea of where this film is heading. As with Mr. Hanks, you don’t know if our lad has gone insane or has really discovered true love. It really doesn’t matter, as you end up embracing him as you root for his peace of mind and survival.

Quite frankly, this is a story about the meaning of true love. As you pass through life, regardless of whether you live on an island or a major American city, is there anything more meaningful than wrapping your arms around the person you cherish? While this little film poses that question rather than answering it, it reminds you of the fundamental joy of kissing the lips of someone you adore.