Turning Red review: A hilarious, joyful treat for Pixar fans

By Alexandra Heilbron on March 9, 2022 | 3 Comments

Turning Red posterIn the new Disney/Pixar animated film Turning Red, we’re introduced to Meilin Lee (voiced by Rosalie Chiang), a bold, bright 13-year-old girl who lives in Toronto.

She has a loyal group of friends with whom she lets her sass out, but at home, she’s quiet and obedient to her parents, whom she loves. She goes home after school every day to help her mother greet visitors to the Chinese temple.

When Meilin wakes up one day to find out she’s turned into a giant red panda, she’s afraid to let anyone know and locks herself in her room. Her mother, Ming (voiced by Sandra Oh), assumes Meilin is embarrassed that she’s gotten her period, but when Ming finds out what’s really happening, Meilin is surprised to learn her mother isn’t shocked. As it turns out, all women in the family turn into giant red pandas during puberty, and in order to stop from changing, they have to learn to keep their emotions steady — no anger or excitement.

Turning Red is a joy to watch because there are so many wonderful moments, including the reactions from Meilin’s friends when they first meet the panda. In fact, all of the school scenes are unique because the writers don’t fall back on clichés that we’ve seen so many times before in movies set in school settings. Meilin is never bullied, despite being an intelligent girl who knows all the answers to the questions her teachers pose in class. Her three best friends never get angry at her and exclude her from their group, and they don’t ridicule her for rushing home at a certain point of the day because she has responsibilities.

The Chinese community is front and center, and the temple is a fascinating place with much history — it’s easy to see why Meilin enjoys helping out there.

This is a finely crafted story about growing up and learning that at a certain point, you need to begin to gain independence and be true to who you are, even if it’s somewhat different than what your parents expect you to be.

Turning Red is Domee Shi‘s first feature film — she won an Academy Award in 2019 for her animated short film Bao. She’s the perfect choice to be Pixar’s first solo female director of a feature film.

The only disappointment in regards to Turning Red is that it’s not opening in theaters — it’s going straight to Disney+ this Friday, March 11, 2022. It would be a real pleasure to see this on a big screen. ~Alexandra Heilbron

5 out of 5 stars.

Click here to watch our interviews with the stars of Turning Red.

If you’ve seen Turning Red and you’d like to rate/review it, click here.

Comments & Discussion

  1. CDubya • March 10, 2022 @ 12:37 PM

    I read previously that Disney would release the movie in theatres. Then they back tracked and now it’s exclusively on Disney+, but now that things are opening up and as you can see Spiderman and Batman are destroying the numbers at the box office, this was a movie that might have given Batman a run for it’s money and threaten #1 spot. I’m sure there was enough time to reconsider and put Turning Red in theatres and maybe at the same time on Disney+. Total missed opportunity for $ revenue for Disney and the theatre chains who could have had the families in the door!

  2. Laughing cloud • March 11, 2022 @ 3:11 PM

    Sounds like its about pms. Kinda weird.

  3. Jane • March 11, 2022 @ 4:34 PM

    I just watched it today. It’s really adorable, about a really spunky little girl who wants to be cool with her friends but her mom doesn’t like them and tries to keep her a little kid who helps out at home and obeys her every word. But seriously, no one can grow like that. A clingy mom stunts your growth. So the girl learns through becoming the red panda to be courageous and more independent.

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