We are a family of two adults and three children – all girls - aged 13 going on 14, 10 and 5. Finding anything we collectively and equally love is always a wondrous thing. Beaches and most things involving food are the best bet, but anything designed to entertain can prove trickier.
It was with some excitement, then, that I booked tickets for the latest offering from the renowned Japanese animation Studio Ghibli, The Red Turtle. Our two eldest love all things ‘Ghibli’, as do their Mum and Dad. Some of their output is way above the head of a five-year-old, but they have produced some universal delights for all ages. My Neighbour Totoro and Kiki’s Delivery Service, to name two that immediately spring to mind, definitely tick that box.
Another reason to be excited was that it was to be our first excursion to the superb new independent cinema in Lewes, The Depot. What a fantastic building in the heart of town, with an eclectic programme lovingly put together by its Creative Director Carmen Slijpen. Carmen has tirelessly worked to make The Depot a reality for many years and to see it come to fruition is an amazing achievement. It felt special, and right, to visit for the first time as a family.
For many years I’ve hugely enjoyed the BBC Radio 5 Kermode and Mayo film review podcasts. For those in the know, that makes me a fully paid-up member of ‘The Church’. Mark Kermode wrote a wonderful, beautifully written review of The Red Turtle for The Guardian, so I’m going to do a massive cheat and recommend you read what he has to say about the film here. I agree with his every word and bow to him on this occasion.
One note of caution I will add is that, while our five-year-old was fine, there are a couple of scenes that, while not graphic, are upsetting and unnerving (and I won’t say what they are as it will be obvious when you see them and would reveal some of the plot). It’s not a film for particularly sensitive young ones.
The Red Turtle is one of those rare and special films that lingers in your mind long after you finish watching it. Visually stunning, it’s also a deep and powerful story that will bring a tear to your eye and make you ponder your very existence.