I will admit: when the trailer for Pixar’s new movie Turning Red came out, I was less than enthused. I just didn’t see the appeal of yet another movie where a character of color turns into an animal. But I’m so glad I gave this movie a chance, because I absolutely loved it and I do not vibe with all the criticism it’s been getting. Turning Red has an all-women leadership team; it’s the first of Pixar’s films to be directed solely by a woman, Domee Shi, who also wrote it. A Women’s History Month win! We need to uplift marginalized voices, not criticize them for not being “perfect.” In my opinion, Turning Red is perfect anyway.
For all those who say this movie is not relatable, I ask, haven’t you ever been thirteen? Haven’t you ever gone through the experience of growing up? It shouldn’t matter if you’re not a Chinese-Canadian girl. Maybe we haven’t all turned into giant red pandas, but aside from that, Meilin’s story is one of the most relatable I can think of. She loves her mom and loves spending time with her, but she’s growing up. She wants to spend more time with her friends and she’s developing interests and ideas that her mom doesn’t approve of. It’s normal for kids to feel confused about who they’re becoming, wanting to be their own person but still wanting their family’s approval.
For all those who say this movie is cringe, again I ask, haven’t you ever been thirteen?? Teenage girls are often ridiculed by society (hence the criticism of this movie…) but there’s something so joyful in seeing them geek out about what they love. In Turning Red Meilin and her friends are obsessed with the boyband 4*Town and will stop at nothing to make it to their concert. It brought me so much joy to see them fangirl so hard because I fangirled about stuff just as hard when I was that age. Heck, I still go hard for the stuff I love. There shouldn’t be an age limit on being an avid fan. Meilin and her friends are totally justified in their love for 4*Town, anyway. I can’t stop jamming to their songs, and if 4*Town was real I would be dying to go to one of their concerts.
As for Meilin turning into a red panda, I think there’s a difference from other media with this trope because at least Meilin doesn’t stay a panda for the majority of the movie. The backstory behind the red panda transformation is pretty awesome, too. A certain part at the end having to do with the red panda transformation actually moved me to tears. And you know what…red panda Meilin is just really cute!