LH Movie Reviews: Turning Red

Pixar’s new film “Turning Red” has turned heads in its direction as it highlights generational trauma and growing up as a teenager

Wisdom Konu, Reporter

In Pixar’s newest animated film, A quirky Asian teenager named Meilin Lee transforms into a giant red panda whenever she has strong emotions. In the movie, Mei bounces between helping her loving but overbearing mother, Ming; and tries to be the perfect daughter and a good friend. In order to please her mother, that means burying her own thoughts and desires. This becomes a lot more difficult when she goes through changes, which ties into the movie being an allegory for puberty. 

With that, she soon discovers she’s inherited a genetic trait passed down from her female ancestors — the ability to turn into a giant red panda when overcome with emotion. The movie is as unapologetic as Mei when it comes to certain aspects of teenage life like puberty and crushes. Later in the movie, it casually references menstruation as Mei’s mother hectically gathers sanitary pads and ibuprofen after mistakenly assuming that her daughter, who has locked herself away in the bathroom in a panic over her panda self, has gotten her first period. 

The film also tackles the theme of generational trauma, much like the recent Disney hit “Encanto.” Both Ming and Mei deal with the pressure of trying to please their mothers by being the perfect daughters and not feeling worthy for them as well. They both don’t want to break their connections, but they start to grow apart in the process. 

At its core, “Turning Red” explores relationships and embracing every part of oneself. At the beginning of the movie, Mei feels the pressure to be the perfect daughter and as we watch the movie more, Mei grows into a character that changes into a person who isn’t afraid to embrace all of her sides. The movie offers a sincere, unapologetic look at teenage life.