“Turning Red”


Alessio Martinez, Student Writer

On March 11, 2022, a new and coming-of-age Asian-Canadian Pixar movie was released on Disney+! This spectacular movie is a fun-friendly, enjoyable film about puberty as a thirteen-year-old girl turns into a red panda. “Turning Red” confronts the early teenage years of disorderliness, rebellion, and self-independence!

The movie is set in the early 2000s when boy bands had their wild, obsessed fans. And, you guessed it! The main character, Meilin Lee (Rosalie Chiang), is one of those fans. Mei is an overachiever student–compliant and excellent. She helps out her mother with their temple to honor their ancestors, but the perfect role model goes through changes…big changes. Her body and emotions start to change–literally. Mei wakes up one morning as a red panda, and of course, like any normal human being, she freaks out! Her emotions go haywire! She and her mother’s relationship starts becoming rocky. She even starts to notice boys! This is Mei’s journey through puberty as a teenager in an animated, sweet version.

“Turning Red” represents a lot of things that teenagers go through even if they aren’t in any way close to the main character’s culture. Mei’s fear of being judged by her peers is a feeling many teenagers (past and present) have experienced. And going through many changes without fully comprehending what is going on can surely stir chaos. Teens can relate to Mei going through her awkward, cringing teenage stage as she tries to find her place in life with these ongoing changes.

Many critics call this movie a pathway for the Asian community to represent their cultures and that it gives the young Asian community a role model to see on television.

A student writer from Baylor University, Luke Araujo, states in his article that the movie’s best elements were of the Lee family. He also goes on to say the movie portrays Asians “respectfully and accurately.” Araujo says that this helps with the Hollywood stereotypes about the Asian community.

Although many people adore the film, others have a slightly different opinion. They argue that the main character is a “stereotypical teenage girl” and very unrealistic. Many others have argued that this film only is “relatable to a particular marginalized group,” and it is hard to find any similarities. 

A famously known movie critic, Sean O’Connell, responded to the film saying that although there was humor, he couldn’t “connect with none of it.” He went on to talk about how the movie was only meant for “the Asian community of Toronto.” He felt as if the film was only for the director (Domee Shi), her family, and friends. O’Connell ranted on how the movie had a “target audience,” and the film wasn’t made for everyone.

Regardless of either side movie-goers are on, it is a definite “go watch”!   Rams are encouraged to see the movie and weigh in with their own opinions about it! It is streaming NOW on Disney+!