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  • Writer's pictureStephen Yanni

Turning Red (2022) - Panda-monium of Puberty

Rating:★★★★☆ (4/5 Stars)

Released 03-11-2022

Watched 05-12-2024

Reviewed 05-14-2024

Watched on Disney+



"We've all got an inner beast. We've all got a messy, loud, weird part of ourselves hidden away. And a lot of us never let it out. But I did. How about you?"


"Turning Red," directed by Domee Shi and produced by Pixar Animation Studios, is a delightful and heartwarming coming-of-age story that beautifully captures the complexities of adolescence. Released in 2022, this animated film centers around Meilin "Mei" Lee, a 13-year-old girl who navigates the turbulent waters of puberty with a unique twist—she transforms into a giant red panda whenever she experiences strong emotions.


The film's vibrant animation and culturally rich setting in Toronto's Chinatown add depth and authenticity to Mei's story. The depiction of Mei's struggle with her dual identity as a dutiful daughter and an independent teenager is both relatable and poignant. The red panda transformation serves as a clever metaphor for the emotional and physical changes of puberty, highlighting the awkwardness and unpredictability of growing up.


One of the film's standout features is its exploration of family dynamics, particularly the relationship between Mei and her overprotective mother, Ming. Sandra Oh's voice acting brings a nuanced performance that captures the tension and love in their bond. The supporting characters, including Mei's loyal friends and eccentric extended family, add humor and warmth to the narrative.


The soundtrack, featuring a mix of traditional Chinese music and early 2000s pop hits, complements the film's energetic pace and emotional beats. The humor in "Turning Red" is both charming and witty, appealing to both younger audiences and adults. The film’s message about embracing one's true self and the inevitable changes of growing up is universal and heartfelt.


"Turning Red" is a standout addition to Pixar's illustrious portfolio, offering a fresh and culturally rich perspective on the challenges of adolescence. It’s a must-watch for anyone who appreciates animated films that combine humor, heart, and a touch of magic.

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