This film has recently been released on Disney + that talks about the changes suffered by people who enter the stage of adolescence. It seeks to break taboos about puberty and having to meet the expectations of adults. This is our “Turning Red” review.
Since March 11, “Turning Red” is available on the Disney + platform. This is the new Pixar film that seeks to repeat the success of the animated films that have been released in recent years. It is only worth remembering the boom achieved by films such as “Coco”, “Toy Story 4”, “Inside Out”, “Soul” and “Luca”. The last one recently received the award for Best Animation at the Golden Globes.
“Turning Red” introduces us to Meilin Lee, a 13-year-old Chinese-Canadian girl who is smart, diligent, has good grades, has very good friends, and is a fan of a well-known boy band in Canada and the world. His life comes to a standstill when he begins to undergo changes that are typical of the process of entering adolescence. This added to having to be the perfect girl to fulfill everything that her uncompromising mother demands and expects of her.
The film is directed by Domee Shi, who has worked on such films as “Incredibles 2” and “Toy Story 4.” It was produced by Lindsey Collins, a former Walt Disney production assistant who has been working for Pixar for a few years.
Seeks To Break Taboos And Stereotypes
Gone are certain stereotypes and prejudices that countless Disney classics left in past generations and that are perpetuated to this day: unjustified rivalries between girls, men as the savior of women and children, and the idealization of the love with the typical “they lived happily ever after”. The big production companies have reinvented themselves and, consequently, their productions too.
In “Turning Red” those winds of change are evident with an innovative and explosive proposal, but at the same time cute. Meilin Lee strives every day to be a role model for her mother, because of how much she demands of her and because of all the hopes she places in her. It is this pressure, to which they are constantly subjected, that allows us to reflect on the anguish that many boys and girls have regarding what their parents expect of them. This, on many occasions, prevents them from making their own decisions, questioning certain situations, or daring to take certain steps.
The film also seeks to put an end to certain stereotypes related to motherhood and fatherhood. In one of the scenes, Meilin Lee’s father has a deep conversation with her and breaks with the cliché that only mothers should listen and advise their sons and daughters and not fathers. “People contain all kinds of angles, and sometimes they are complicated,” the father tells Meilin Lee. It is one of the phrases that stand out the most throughout the film.
On the other hand, although the film does away with certain topics, it cannot avoid falling into some avoidable clichés such as feeling attracted to someone older, loving a young boy band, or various situations that can happen in a school. As for the animation and music, it doesn’t look anything spectacular compared to the latest Pixar productions.
Does It Meet Initial Expectations?
Metaphorically, it’s quite creative to go for a female lead who transforms into a red panda when her emotions run high. Since, on the one hand, it shows the Asian traditions and the historical context of her family, and on the other hand, it allows us to visualize what it means to enter puberty (menstruation) and the physical and hormonal changes that this means, in this case for women.
It is also a success that it is the company’s first film in which the entire creative team is made up of women (direction, production, production design, and script) and one of the first that aims to address issues that throughout history had not touched.
As for the animation, the beginning is quite powerful, lively, and fast, but as the plot progresses it loses some interest. About the end, everything becomes a little more predictable and it no longer hooks the audience as it does at the beginning.
“We all have a beast inside, we all hide a strange, crazy, and thunderous part of us and many of us never let it out,” says Meilin Lee. This simple phrase can help hundreds of young people not to be afraid, ashamed, or shy to be who they are and to understand that just as everyone has virtues, they also have flaws. More optimistic and at the same time realistic messages like those are needed on a day-to-day basis, and in “Turning Red” that is appreciated in a large part of the film. And if Pixar is going to follow this path from now on, these and future productions of the company are welcome.