Movie Review: Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon Trailer

Blue Lagoon Summary

In the late Victorian period, two young cousins, nine-year-old Richard (Glenn Kohan as Young Richard) and seven-year-old Emmeline Lestrange (Elva Josephson as Young Emmeline), and a galley cook, Paddy Button (Leo McKern), survive a shipwreck in the South Pacific and reach a lush tropical island. Paddy cares for the children and forbids them by “Law” from going to the other side of the island, as he had found remains from bloody human sacrifices on an altar there. He also warns them against eating the deadly scarlet berries. Paddy later dies after a drunken binge. Now alone, the children go to another part of the island and rebuild their home.

When Richard and Emmeline reach puberty, their experience is stressful given their lack of education on human sexuality. Emmeline is the first to experience sexual attraction (to Richard), about which she is uncomfortable and declines to share her “funny” thoughts with him. She is frightened by her first menstrual period and refuses to allow Richard to inspect her for what he imagines is a wound. 

Eventually, Richard recognizes his own attraction to Emmeline. She secretly ventures to the forbidden side of the island and sees the altar. She associates the blood on the altar with the blood of Christ’s crucifixion, concludes that the altar is God, and tries to persuade Richard to go to the other side of the island to pray with her. Richard is shocked at the idea of breaking the Law, and the two argue.

When Richard tries to initiate sexual contact with Emmeline, she rebuffs him; as a result, Richard hides from Emmeline and masturbates.

A ship appears for the first time in years, but Emmeline does not light the signal fire and the ship passes by without noticing them. When Richard angrily confronts Emmeline about her failure, she asserts—to Richard’s disbelief—that the island is their home now and that they should remain there. Emmeline reveals that she knows about Richard’s masturbation and threatens to tell her Uncle Arthur about it. They fight, and Emmeline throws a coconut at Richard, inadvertently hitting him in the head. Angry and hurt, Richard kicks Emmeline out of their shelter.

Emmeline accidentally steps on a venomous stonefish. Weak from the poison, she pleads with Richard to “take [her] to God”. Richard carries her to the other side of the island and places her on the altar, offering a prayer. Emmeline recovers and Richard admits his fear of losing her. After Emmeline regains her ability to walk, the two swim naked in the lagoon and then swim to shore. Still naked, Richard and Emmeline discover sexual intercourse and become lovers. As a result, Emmeline becomes pregnant, though neither of them recognize her pregnancy. Instead, they are stunned when they feel the baby move inside her abdomen and assume that it is her stomach causing the movements.

Months later, Richard is alone in the shelter and hears a sound from afar and goes directly to the other side of the island. There, he discovers a group of indigenous people performing a ritual in front of the statue as a ceremony, during which they sacrifice someone. Richard becomes frightened and runs away to find Emmeline, whom he finds in labor. Emmeline gives birth to a baby boy, whom they name Paddy.

A ship led by Richard’s father, Arthur (William Daniels), approaches the island and sees the family playing on the shore. When they notice the ship, Richard and Emmeline walk away instead of signaling for help, content with their lives. As they are covered in mud, their appearance is difficult to determine, and Arthur assumes they are not Richard and Emmeline.

One day, the family takes the lifeboat to visit their original homesite. Richard searches for bananas, leaving Emmeline and Paddy with the boat. Emmeline does not notice when Paddy brings a branch of the scarlet berries into the boat. Emmeline and Paddy slowly drift away, and Paddy tosses one of the oars out of the boat. Unable to reach the oar, Emmeline shouts to Richard and he swims to her, followed closely by a shark. Emmeline throws the other oar at the shark, striking it and giving Richard time to get into the boat. The boat is caught in the current and drifts out to sea.

After drifting for days, Richard and Emmeline awake to find Paddy eating the berries he had picked. Hopeless, Richard and Emmeline eat the berries as well, lying down to await death. A few hours later, Arthur’s ship finds them. Arthur asks, “Are they dead?” The captain (Gus Mercurio) assures him, “No, sir. They’re asleep”.

Blue Lagoon Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I loved this film, while it does contain some nudity (be warned) it was interesting how the two characters managed to fend for themselves and how they had to learn about their own bodies on a deserted island.

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