Two lonely Londoners – Neaera Duncan, a children’s author (Glenda Jackson), and William Snow, a bookstore assistant (Ben Kingsley) – find common ground when visiting the sea turtles at London Zoo; independently of each other, both perceive that the turtles are unnaturally confined, and they hatch a plan with the assistance of zookeeper George Fairbairn (Michael Gambon) to smuggle them out and release them into the sea, which they ultimately succeed in accomplishing. Their release of the turtles represents metaphorically their release of themselves from their own inhibitions.
Turtle Diary is a 1985 British film about “people rediscovering the joys of life and love,” based on a screenplay adapted by Harold Pinter from Russell Hoban’s novel Turtle Diary, directed by John Irvin, and starring Glenda Jackson, Ben Kingsley, and Michael Gambon. The film contains elements of romance, comedy, and drama and has been described as a romantic comedy.
Turtle Diary (1985)
Directed by: John Irvin
Starring: Glenda Jackson, Ben Kingsley, Richard Johnson, Michael Gambon, Rosemary Leach, Eleanor Bron, Harriet Walter, Jeroen Krabbé
Screenplay by: Harold Pinter
Production Design by: Leo Austin
Cinematography by: Peter Hannan
Film Editing by: Peter Tanner
Costume Design by: Elizabeth Waller
Art Direction by: Diane Dancklefsen, Judith Lang
Music by: Geoffrey Burgon
Distributed by: The Samuel Goldwyn Company
Release Date: November 29, 1985