Disney and Pixar’s Turning Red is an exciting and fun animation movie telling the familiar story of a young girl coming into puberty. On this journey Mei lee is trying to balance her traditional family life of honoring her ancestors, parents and chores as well as her teenage social life with her friends all to the musical sounds of 4*Town. This dilemma leaves Mei Lee in a constant tug of war between the expectations of her mother, the desires of her friends, and who exactly she wants to be.
Some parents who saw this movie were upset because the subject of menstruation came up. Girls start having periods between the ages of 9 and 15. This movie is a way to get the conversation started. Throughout the film, A majority of the plot relies heavily on metaphor and subtext of coming in relation to the transition from childhood to womanhood. Mei Lee finds out that when she gets excited or emotional, she turns into a big red panda! From the metaphor of color in context to a women’s cycle and generations of women developing and learning to contain the power of the panda. Mei Lee takes a sharp left from the generational inconvenience that has plagued the matriarchs of her family. What her mother and Grandma saw as a hindrance Mei Lee in her journey of self- discovery learns she would prefer to lean into this perceived hindrance and the awkward experience that is the red panda. Young audience members will easily relate to what Mei Lee is going through as a young teen because at 13 years of age you’re at an intersection of life where you are no longer a kid, far from being an adult and still a child. Turning Red captures the difficult and uncomfortable growing pains of a 13 year old and shows how she adapts thereby providing hope and insight to young teens navigating their transition to adulthood.
At first, she is frightened, ashamed and havoc ensues as she tackles peer pressure, trying to fit in and turning red. But eventually she learns to embrace it, finds her voice and has the courage to speak up and out to her over protective mom.
The reoccurring theme song of the film by the fictional boy band 4*Town proves to be incredibly integral to the story and its parallels to the real-life experience of women worldwide who have experienced “Boy Band Fandom” The Beatles, The Jackson 5, NSYNC, Boyz 2 Men, New Edition, Backstreet Boys and now BTS follow a similar blueprint that has been marketed to young girls. I enjoyed Mei Lee and her friends and cannot wait to see the sequel or television show.
Turning Red is a great coming of age story that is funny, engaging, enriching and totally entertaining. Overall I enjoyed this film and I give it a 10 out of 10 rating.