Directed by Domee Shi, Turning Red follows the daily life of Chinese-Canadian tween Mei Lee (Rosalie Chiang). Her narration early on might lead you to believe she has total control of her life and personal choices, but her daily routine would prove otherwise.

Mei Lee, a dorky but confident Chinese-Canadian tween, struggles with being her mother’s perfect daughter and the urge for independence. Increasing pressure triggers a startling transformation that unearths an ancient, hairy, family secret.

The film was an authentic ode to Toronto (jargon included) while traveling down the familiar road of puberty. It caused quite an uproar amongst viewers with differing perspectives on whether Disney/Pixar should’ve covered such a topic. In the end, movies like Turning Red and Inside Out, are bold enough to take a jab at topics with a creative touch and lighthearted learning opportunities. Just like how Zootopia easily brokedown prejudice and profiling, Turning Red found a not-so usual way to talk about puberty from a girl’s perspective.

MOTHER’S NATURE – In Disney and Pixar’s all-new original feature film “Turning Red,” confident-but-dorky teenager Mei Lee is torn between staying her mother’s dutiful daughter and the chaos of adolescence. And Mei Lee’s mother has very strong feelings about it all. Featuring Rosalie Chiang as the voice of Mei Lee, and Sandra Oh as the voice of Mei Lee’s mother, Ming, “Turning Red” will debut exclusively on Disney+ (where Disney+ is available) on March 11, 2022. © 2022 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Mei Lee’s mother, Ming (Sandra Oh), is an overbearing control freak whose deathgrip of control stems from her own childhood experiences. While Mei is forced to help out at the family’s temple, she’d rather hangout with her girlfriends and listen to music from boy bands like 4*Town.

Aside from addressing the behavioral changes that come with adolescence, it’s a film that doubles down on how important it is for adults to actually listen to their children. Often times, the thoughts and feelings of children get pushed aside simply because they are children. Here, the relationship between Mei Lee and her mother blossoms only after her mom gives her the space to express herself.

Turning Red gets an 8.5 out of 10. The idea of using the red panda as a metaphor for a period is both odd and creative. Disney has never shied away from a bit of controversy and once again, they’ve tackled a subject that not many would’ve touched. Parents should use their own discretion whether their children are ready to hear about hormonal changes, periods, and embarrassing teenage moments.

Domee Shi and Lindsey Collins will be eyeing the Oscar win for Best Animated Feature.

-Jon Jones

Photo: Courtesy of Disney/Pixar

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