With piercing emotions and physical changes, the onset of puberty can be overwhelming for a teenager. Disney and Pixar’s latest animated tale – Turning Red, shows just that with the protagonist Mei Lee, a 13-year-old, torn between being her mother’s obedient daughter and navigating the awkward world of being a young teenager. The film, directed by Domee Shi, tells an unabashedly female story with brave storytelling, solid animation and strong female-led performances that highlights representation. From celebrating womanhood at its rawest, between mothers, daughters and female friendships to marvellous visualisation and inclusion, here’s why Turning Red is a must-watch for fans as it descends onto Disney+ Hotstar in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam on 11th March.
The movie is unapologetic about period talking
When Mei (voiced by actress Rosalie Chiang) gets overwhelmed, she transforms into a larger-than-life red panda, while her mother, Ming (voiced by Sandra Oh), is never far behind, overdoing it on the doting. Metaphorically, connecting the Panda to her period, the movie doesn’t shy away from the nitty-gritty of puberty, including tackling topics that aren’t spoken of openly, like one’s period.
Will leave many touched by representation
Set in Toronto, Turning Red highlights the cultural aspects of immigrant families in Canada and smartly uses a multi-cultural urban setting to carry its narrative forward with the food, décor and beliefs of its immigrant characters. From Mei’s and Ming’s coiffed hair to small cameos, such as a Sikh school guard and the festive red lanterns adorning Toronto’s Chinatown, the film offers visual nuggets that Asian audiences will relate to.
All-female creative team
This is Disney and Pixar’s first film to have an all-female creative team – with a female director, producer, visual-effects supervisor, and production designer among its lead creatives. Penned by Domee Shi and Julia Cho and produced by Lindsey Collins, the film’s characters have been voiced by Rosalie Chiang, Sandra Oh, Orion Lee, Ava Morse, Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, Hyein Park, Wai Ching Ho, James Hong, and others.
Celebrates female friendship
Just as the film embraces the dynamics of mother-daughter relationships, it triumphantly showcases the power of female friendships made in adolescence. The film features some of the most authentic and relatable relationships between teen girls. Mei’s friends — Miriam (Ava Morse), Priya (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan), and Abby (Hyein Park) — are enthusiastically and unconditionally supportive of Mei and each other.
Turning Red is for all ages
Many may think that Turning Red is a children’s film but it is equally valuable to parents dealing with adolescent kids. What makes this film stand out is its vibrancy and optimism, lauding tough moments and emotions that showcase their relatability and complexity.
Tune into Disney+ Hotstar on 11 March to join Mei Lee and her friends in Turning Red, as they traverse the ups and downs of teenage life!