Story

The Red Turtle is an animated French/Japanese movie with no dialogue. The movie tells the story of a shipwrecked sailor who washes up on a lonely tropical island. Although there seem to be no humans on the island, it has lots of animals, including turtles, birds and crabs. Hoping to escape, the man uses materials from the island to build himself a raft, but his plan is repeatedly foiled by a giant red turtle. Although initially frustrated, the sailor gradually begins to bond with the creature.

The man also eventually meets a woman, and the two begin a family together. The man and his family go through a series of tribulations that threaten to destroy the life they’ve built together. 

Themes

Acceptance; adventure and exploration; relationships and family; trust

Violence

The Red Turtle has some violence. For example, the man mistreats the turtle by hitting it with a bamboo pole. He also jumps up and down on the turtle’s underbelly. The turtle doesn’t seem to be hurt.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, The Red Turtle has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example:

  • The man struggles in ocean waves, trying to stay afloat. He later washes up on a beach, unhurt.
  • The man is often seen screaming and shouting out of frustration.
  • A tsunami floods the island. After the tsunami passes, the man finds the woman. She’s hurt and has blood on her leg. There are also blood stains on the sand. 

From 5-8
Children in this age group might also be disturbed by the scenes mentioned above.

From 8-13
Younger children in this age group might also be worried by some of the scenes mentioned above.

Over 13
Nothing of concern

Sexual references

None of concern

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

None of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern

Product placement

None of concern

Coarse language

None

Ideas to discuss with your children

The Red Turtle is a simple but beautiful movie that encourages audiences to identify with the nameless shipwrecked man. Because it has no dialogue, the movie avoids imposing specific meanings, but invites audiences to watch the story unfold and come to their own conclusions.

The movie explores the question of whether you need material possessions to live a fulfilled life. It’s also interested in the way that a life can take an unexpected and even unwanted direction, but can be full of value if you accept change and uncertainty.

The Red Turtle is best suited to viewers over 10 years. Because of its themes and scenes that might disturb younger children, we don’t recommend this movie for children under 8 years. And we do recommend parental guidance for children aged 8-10 years.