Turning Red

Joselyn D'Agostino, Staff Writer

I think we can all agree that Disney/Pixar has been really on top of it lately, and their release of the smash hit ‘Turning Red’ only proves my point. With memorable characters such as our main girl MeiLin Lee, a plot that clearly follows the line of self discovery, self expression, and being true to  who you are as a person, and ear worms for music that get stuck in your head for weeks (Nobody Like U has been on loop for me) it’s no wonder that the movie got so much love. 


We follow Mei, a 13 year old who does everything her mom (Ming) asks of her, being sort of like her mother’s perfect doll. Mei transforms into the red panda, and Ming explains they can only get rid of it on a red moon, which is a month away from her initial transformation. Mei and her friends want to go to a concert for their favorite band, 4Town,  but have no money (and no parent permission). To get the money, they hustle Mei’s panda, selling pictures and shirts and other things. They come up a little short of the money, so Mei goes to a classmate’s birthday party as the panda, but she gets mad, and attacks someone. Ming finds out, and blames Mei’s friends, and Mei goes along with it. 


The end wraps things up neatly with a bow, in that typical Disney/Pixar fashion, but I am putting a metaphorical hand over my mouth. If you want to find out how it ends, you’ll just have to watch the movie. The movie studio did a phenomenal job with this movie. It truly felt like a coming of age movie, and not Disney Channel the type where the character is a conventionally attractive 16 year old played by a 30 year old actor. I could (for better or worse) see my 13 year old self in Mei, especially with the ‘thinking you’re all grown up’ before you’ve even been to highschool. 


The design, both for characters and set, really gave me the early 2000’s vibes, which is good, seeing as that’s when the movie is set. You could see this clearly with things like the tamagotchi Mei has, and the bucket hat and the cowrie shell necklace the store attendant her and her friends fawn over wear. 


The movie also touches on something that Disney/Pixar haven’t seemed to be shying away from lately, the theme of generational trauma. Mei was hurt by her mom, constantly having heavy expectations set on her (Being expected to be Ming’s ‘perfect little doll’, as I mentioned earlier) and not being given much wiggle room to be a kid. But Ming was hurt that way (possibly even worse) by her own mother, and so when she had her own kid, she unknowingly did to Mei what her mother did to her. It’s a sticking point of the movie, which is so very important, and becomes integral to the ending. 


In the end, you can make your own opinion on the movie. I personally didn’t like it quite much until I got to watch the whole thing (the ending had me crying), so, if you were to ask for my personal review – 10/10, would watch and cry at again. (Just make sure to bring some tissues and ice cream, you very much will need it. Also, maybe have a friend on standby, so you can talk about what the heck you just saw and how you’re being targeted and the movie studio must have based the movie off your own family.)