Students should watch Turning Red as it shows a different yet realistic approach to the growing pains of a young teenage girl.
Turning Red takes place in Toronto, Ontario in the early 2000s. It follows Meilin Lee, a 13-year-old girl who is being raised in a semi-traditional Asian household by her relatively helicopter mother and passive yet supportive father.
Mei is the textbook definition of an overachiever who spends her spare time helping out her mom with the family temple; a business set to bring awareness to their Chinese ancestors in the very popular area of Toronto’s Chinatown.
While Mei strives to be the perfect daughter at home, her true personality is shown when she is with her three best friends from school. Boy crazed and in love with a famous boy band named 4 Town is how these girls remain hilariously relatable to students who are also huge fans of artists.
In the movie, these young girls have an amazing bond that helps Mei navigate the biggest change in her life. Mei turns into a big red panda when she experiences any extreme emotion. With this sudden change, Mei is forced to learn of a generational curse that has been passed down to each woman on her mother’s side.
According to NPR, “Mei’s transformation is a metaphor for the onset of puberty, when one’s body betrays them and becomes unrecognizable overnight.” It is a clever play on what every student has been through at one point in time.
While the movie focuses on the awkwardness of reaching puberty, Vox reports on the intergenerational trauma that allows the viewers, from another angle, to deeply connect with “a family forcing a child to repress any messy, unpalatable side of themselves while trying to learn how to navigate the world with it.” A valuable lesson to be taken from the movie is learning to be okay with the decision a student will make for themselves about their life that family might not agree on.
“Turning Red is another Pixar masterpiece,” student Brooke Baird said. “They did a great job of making a movie that was enjoyable to kids on the surface but also deep and full of layers where adults can pull apart and really enjoy. There is something for everyone in Turning Red.”
The Guardian stated that “the message is one of female friendship, embracing change and cuddling your inner panda.”
These themes are important for students who are also trying to find a way when it comes to dealing with the pressures of school, familial pressure and personal obstacles that may arise.
Turning Red is a great movie that students should either see in theaters or login into their Disney+ account to enjoy the meaningful animated masterpiece.