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The Red Turtle

Updated on February 27, 2017
Stevennix2001 profile image

Steven Escareno is an amateur film critic that writes about movies in his spare time.

Stevennix2001's Rating:

10 / 10


  • Great animation.
  • Direction was solid
  • While there's hardly any dialogue in this film, the story was still well written and planned out perfectly, as it conveys a surprisingly deep character study about the cycle of life and death itself.
  • The jokes involving the miniature crabs were funny.


  • There's a few minor plot holes that never get explained. For example. Why did the red turtle turn into a woman? It's never explained why this happens, nor does the film ever care to explain where it came from.

Words aren't enough to praise this brilliant work of art....

They say that a picture can be worth over a thousand words. What about an entire animated film full of moving symbolic images with little to no dialogue? You get a piece of art like no other. While some people may be turned off by this film's dialogue less story, it's actually a real treat to watch if you're into more artsy style movies.

The story follows a man, who gets shipwrecked on an island. We never learn his name, nor do we ever learn how he got lost at sea, or even where he comes from. All we know is that he forced to swim to shore, after his ship sank. Forced to survive the harsh environment around him, with no chance of escape in sight. He tries to build a ship several times, in order to escape. However, it never works out each time, as the ship constantly bumps into something that causes it to break apart. But after the third attempt, he finally discovers that his ships keep sinking because of a mysterious red turtle that keeps bumping him.

Frustrated with rage, he flips the turtle on it's back the instant it swims to shore. Yelling and screaming at the creature, while hitting it's shell in anger. Afterwards, he leaves it there to die, but he soon starts to feel guilty over his actions. Trying desperately to nurse it back to health, while even trying to turn it back over. However, none of it works, as he's left to mourn over his ill advised emotional outburst. Mysteriously, the red turtle turns into a beautiful young woman. No explanation is ever given as to why this happens, or even where the turtle came from, but it happens nonetheless.

Without giving away too much of the story, the man falls in love with the mysterious girl, as they eventually raise a son together. And like most children, the child grows up and leaves the nest to pursue ambitions of his own, while the other two live out their lives together. Through this dialogue less film, we see the cycle of life and death play out in such a way that it's almost breathtaking to watch.

Life doesn't always play out how we intended, but that's what makes it worth living, as you never know what to expect. Sometimes life will throw you a curve ball that can take away almost everything you know and love, while other times it gives you something beautiful as well.

Granted, I'm sure some of us would love to have the answers to all of life's mysteries, while knowing what to expect, but to that I must ask...where's the fun in that? Life is worth living because you never know what to expect. Sure, it can suck sometimes, but it can also make life more thrilling, when something great does happen.

Would a marriage proposal be better if you knew about it over ten years before you even met your fiance? And if you knew several years prior to meeting him that he was destined to be your soulmate, then why bother dating at all? Why not just dump all those other would be losers you would've dated in between, and just wait until the guy you were meant to be with comes along? Why even give anyone else a chance? Hell, why even date your destined soulmate at all? You already know it's going to work out between you both, so skip all the courting crap. Just get married, after you meet them for the first time, as dating him to find out if he's the one or not is clearly a waste of time if you already know what's going to happen, so why prolong the inevitable?

The fact of the matter is that no matter how much we hate to admit it, the reality is that life itself is unpredictable. We never know how much time we have on this planet, nor do we know what lies ahead for any of us in the future. But at the same time, that's what makes life worth living. When you're dating someone, part of the fun is never knowing where it's going to go. Sure, it could lead to a one night stand, or possibly heartache. However, it could also lead to something more. Again, you never know until you try. And even if you do marry that person, then will you truly be happy with them? While not knowing these questions may be frustrating to some, it's also quite exhilarating as well, as it forces you to never take life for granted, while appreciating the things that you have.

Life may not always be perfect, but it's what you make of it that counts. "The Red Turtle" plays on this theme perfectly, as it shows how truly unpredictable life can be, while showing us how even during times of hardships that good things can still happen. While there's no dialogue to this movie, the animation itself manages to tell the story far better than words ever could.

The animation, for the most part, is traditional hand drawn animation, with a unique photo realistic look. According to various articles, the animators utilized a series of tools called cin-tiq tables, where the animators were able draw the characters instantly onto the computer, in order to give it that unique aesthetic hand drawn look.

The end results is like watching a sketchbook come to life, as the imagery throughout this film is beautiful to look at. Almost every still frame of animation would be considered an artistic masterpiece, but the fact that it all came together to create this silent animated feature about life itself? Words can't even begin to describe how great "The Red Turtle" is.

While I doubt this movie will appeal to most audiences, I do think that "The Red Turtle" Is worth checking out if you're into art house films. While it may not have the deepest story, it's still an interesting character study about life itself, and how unpredictable it can be.

© 2017 Steven Daniels


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