“Turning Red”: A film that describes the awkwardness of middle school


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Pixar’s “Turning Red” dives into the everyday life of Mei Lee, an ordinary yet extraordinary young girl

  Pixar’s newest film portrays the experience that any teenage girl can relate to. Turning Red follows Mei Lee, a 13 year old girl who strives to be the perfect daughter for her mother while growing up and going through the challenges of being a dorky teenage girl. 

   Although this may seem challenging, Mei has a larger problem than embarrassing teenage moments: She turns into a giant Red Panda whenever her emotions get the best of her.

   Turning Red was a very relatable film for me! Director Domee Shi did an excellent job at replicating all of the awkwardness and embarrassing moments of being a middle schooler, and that made for some hilarious scenes. Not a lot of media is able to realistically portray teenagers, but the dialogue of Turning Red feels like what you would hear hanging out with a group of teenage girls. The film also broke the stigma of talking about periods in a way that was relatable and hilarious for anyone who has experienced them.

   The animation style for Turning Red was very unique, with the film adopting a very anime-sequel style not typically seen in Pixar’s films. The bright colors, fun graphics, and expressive characters made for a very engaging film.

   The music of Turning Red was very fun and fit the era the film was going for. Billie Eilish along with her brother Finneas wrote the music for the movie’s boy band 4-Town, a homage to *NSYNC, the Backstreet Boys, and all of the boy bands girls were obsessed with in the 2000’s. The score was also excellent, and it added to the Asian culture of the film.

   The characters in Turning Red were very fleshed out, and felt very real. Mei’s character grew from a perfectionist who strives to be who her family wants her to be, to a dorky teenage girl experiencing her first crushes and having an obsession with boy bands. Mei’s mother Ming was also very realistically portrayed, showing how difficult it can be for parents to see their children growing up and changing from who they knew them as.

   A main theme of Turning Red was overcoming generational trauma. The women in Mei’s family bottled up their pandas inside of them, but Mei learns that the Red Panda she turns into is a part of her, and isn’t something to be ashamed of. She is able to break the chain, and help her mother to heal from her mistakes and grow to become a better person.

   Overall, Turning Red was an excellent portrayal of the transition from childhood to becoming an adolescent, with great representation of Asian culture, a unique and refreshing animation style, moments that made me burst out laughing, and the emotional beats Pixar is so known for. It’s become a new favorite of mine, and I recommend that you watch it too!