The Red Turtle

The Red Turtle ★★★★★

I saw it as a parable about nature's sacrifice and forgiveness, about a man who has lost everything, but is given a gift. The man brutalized the turtle in his anger and desperation to get off the island and (presumably) back into human contact. This is where a touch of mysticism comes into play, and nature forgives the man for his act. It recognizes his need for love and companionship. The red turtle crawls ashore after ruining his boat and sacrifices itself so the man may find happiness on the island. Nature provides him with a companion and a child, a life he can build. I wouldn't call it a reward, so much as a gift, or essentially, a sacrifice. He does have a brief flash of guilt about what he did, and thus resolves to replace his anger with love for his family. His life is saved twice as a result of this.

At the end of the film, after he has had the opportunity to grow old with his loved one, he passes peacefully and his wife once again becomes the red turtle. Its gift complete, it returns to the ocean. I don't think the wife and child were imaginary, but I do think they exist only within the confines of the island. When the child leaves the island, he is met by a party of three green turtles and swims away, almost as if he too is returning to nature. We never see or hear from him again because once outside of the man's perception, he is gone. The child's miraculous survival after falling into the pool is another hint that there is something metaphysical at play with the family.

The animation and score in the film is utterly breathtaking. I wish it had focused a bit more on portraying some of the man's reflection by the end of his life(more repentance).
Anyway, the film was indeed a masterpiece.

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