Turning Red (2022) Review

Meilin who is 13 years old is about to have everything made so much more difficult when she turns into a giant red panda whenever her emotions change to different extremes, whether that be excited, upset, angry or even happy.


Mei is a Chinese-Canadian girl who lives in Toronto, she helps to take care of the Lee family temple and works very hard to make her strict and overprotective mother Ming proud. She hides quite frankly the best part of her life from her mother in her amazing friendship with Miriam, Priya and Abby along with the shared fandom for 4*Town a very popular teen boyband. Hitting this stage of her life was always going to be difficult and clashing with her mother was inevitable but who would have thought it would be THIS difficult.

You know when she begins turning into a big red panda when her emotions get out of control, I mean does that sound at all familiar to any female watching this film? What happens with puberty and starting your periods is not easy at all and quite frankly horrendous to deal with. The fact that we then have a giant red panda taking on the sheer emotional part of it all, appearing when stressed, upset, happy, excited or any other major change. Which as a teenager is even harder to control than when you get older.

Everything about Turning Red felt so utterly perfect in remembering those difficult years, but then also filled me up with so much hope. Hope that young girls watching this film will realise that it is perfectly ok and normal to be feeling all over the place and that you don’t really recognise yourself anymore. However, that you can learn to control this and it might take a little bit of getting used to but it will not destroy you.

The film is set in 2002 and the nostalgia that gave me from the late 90s and those early 00s years was magical. The boyband hysteria and then the tamagotchi really hit home, as I can remember the torture of leaving it at home all day and hoping your parents could control it.

Culture is another very big factor of this film and that is something that I find really interesting as a lot of the differences in cultures I see is from film and tv, which I know is not gospel but its a starting point and then you can research and find out more. We have been shown many times that Chinese parents are rather hard on their children and want them to strive in school for excellence (quite frankly nothing wrong with that) Ming just wasn’t ready for her daughter to have other interests and wanted her to continue to be perfect for her.

How would her friends cope with the big giant panda which was related to the temple and family, with each female member of the family going through this rite of passage. Mei’s best friends are utterly amazing and exactly what you hope for from your friends, they support and love her no matter what. The conflict though between her family and the ritual to be rid of the panda and attend the 4*Town concert is a major decision and the consequences are quite frankly extreme, with massive moments to occur.

I seriously just adored this film and thought it was very bold, brave and went to places that many films would shy away from. How many films would openly show pads in animated form is very new that’s for sure. Also being open and honest with how it feels to experience it for the first time. Not only this though the friendship was just adorable and you will argue but it can work out if you really want it to, as well as with family that is something you must work to together. My favourite Pixar film since Coco (and I really liked Soul and enjoyed Luca).

The voice work is exceptional with Rosalie Chiang and Sandra Oh leading the cast so effortlessly!

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