In need of a wholesome pick-me-up film? In the mood for that film to be beautifully animated? Look no further than Disney and Pixar’s latest release, Turning Red. The film stars Rosalie Chang as the main character, Meilin, Sandra Oh as Ming, Ava Morse as Miriam, Maitreyi Ramakrishnan as Priya, and Wai Ching Ho as Grandma, to name a few members of the cast. Turning Red, directed by Domee Shi, follows a relatively simple premise like most Pixar films do. Meilin is unique in that whenever she gets overly excited, she turns into a giant red panda. Don’t let the simplicity of the premise fool you though, because as is often the case with Pixar films, there’s much more to it than meets the eye.
Turning Red is a must watch and here’s why
Aside from being a movie animated by Pixar, Turning Red has a lot going for it. For one, it is a film that celebrates Asian culture. Disney already had its head start with the likes of Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Raya and the Last Dragon in terms of Asian representation. What sets this film apart from its predecessors is that it’s a bit more family-friendly if violence and action aren’t for you and yours. As cool as fighting in movies can be, it’s nice to just be able to appreciate the culture without the need for physical conflict. You can appreciate it by delving into the traditions that add to and structure life, sharing the stories that inspire and enliven the imagination, or even something as simple as appreciating how good the cuisine is, these are all things that Turning Red does in spades (organically too).
Next up, this is also a movie that tackles a discussion that isn’t very often had in film. To quote EW’s review, the movie does well not to shy away from “normalizing the emotional and physical messiness of puberty”. A topic that’s considered a “cinematic boundary” has now lost one of its foundational bricks, and in a good way. Being able to have an open conversation is always a good thing, and it helps when there is a platform that aids in getting that conversation going. It goes without saying that puberty is a very important topic for boys and girls alike. To have the metaphor of the red panda transformation gives children coming into that age group a pretty smooth (and dare I say cute) transition into talking about puberty. That being said, Turning Red is looking like the next best coming-of-age film of our time.
So if you’re ready to cry as is typical with every Pixar movie that has come before it, Turning Red is definitely up there on the recommendation list for either a nice family night out or a cozy movie night with the kids. Turning Red can be streamed exclusively on Disney+, having yet to make its way to theaters in the United States.