‘Growing up is a beast.’
Turning Red is a 2022 American animated fantasy comedy film about a teenage girl who turns into a giant red panda whenever she gets excited.
Directed by Domee Shi, making her feature directorial debut, from a screenplay co-written with Julia Cho. Produced by Lindsey Collins. Executive produced by Pete Docter and Dan Scanlon.
The Walt Disney Pictures-Pixar Animation Studios production stars the voice talents of Rosalie Chiang as Mei Lee, Sandra Oh as Ming, Maitreyi Ramakrishnan as Priya, plus James Hong, Jordan Fisher, Sasha Roiz, Sherry Cola, Finneas O’Connell, Wai Ching Ho, Lori Tan Chinn, Ava Morse, Lily Sanfelippo, Orion Lee and Josh Levi.
Toronto, between 2002 and 2003, Meilin “Mei” Lee is a confident thirteen-year-old Chinese-Canadian who is torn between staying her mother’s dutiful daughter and the chaos of adolescence. And as if changes to her interests, relationships, and body were not enough, whenever she gets too excited or stressed, she “poofs” into a giant red panda due to her ancestors’ mystical connection with red pandas.
“The story can be silly and sometimes vaguely anachronistic (did the kids really exclaim “Oh.Em.Gee.” or speak in the confident parlance of self-actualized TikTok teens back in 2002?), but Red is so breezily charming that hardly matters. In the tricky world of tween-dom, it captures something sweetly universal: Growing up is messy, no matter how you bear it.” Grade: B+ Entertainment Weekly
” …it’s also safe to say that Pixar is pro-furry. And maybe that sounds weird or offputting to some, but another key message to Turning Red is being yourself, but not in the traditional sense. Above all else, this movie encourages everyone to let out their weird side and not judge others. Similarly, Pixar should continue to make weird animated features if they will be as enchanting as Turning Red.” Flickering Myth
“The mother-daughter dynamic is deftly avoidant of broad strokes (it’s far more layered and loving than strictness v rebellion) but it’s not quite enough to power the film as it heads to a big set-piece finale […] The journey is slick and diverting, and at times incisive, but Turning Red is yet another Pixar film that coasts rather than glides.” 3/5 The Guardian
“There’s a distinct feeling throughout that this material is very personal to Shi, obviously not in terms of pandafication but perhaps of teen years spent navigating the line between honoring her family and exploring her freedom, as well as the foibles of mothers with high expectations. Sparky newcomer Chiang tackles the growing pains with irrepressible spirit…” The Hollywood Reporter
“As with Bao, Shi never compromises the specificities to pander to more general viewers. Though Mei proclaims at the beginning of the film that she’s full of confidence, she spends most of its runtime growing into actually feeling that sense of self […] Turning Red feels like the result of her growth, a movie that unabashedly and jovially embraces its own identity in such a tender way that it aches.” Polygon
“Playful and perceptive, Turning Red also strikes me as a very funny movie that will reward repeat viewings. It’s a beautiful, satisfying experience that makes me glad I somehow survived my teen years with my sanity intact, just so I could more fully appreciate this movie.” Screen Anarchy
“Mei Lee might be the most endearing main character we’ve been given by Pixar since Sully and Mike in Monsters Inc.; it’s impossible not to empathize with her, and she’s a character that could have very easily tilted into annoying, but she’s just endearing. Even if we didn’t go through her exact struggles, we can no doubt relate to them, and maybe find them reflected in our own lives.” Sonic Cinema
“Irresistibly cute and thoroughly unashamed of its own silliness, Turning Red may be second-tier Pixar, but the emotions run every bit as deep as in the studio’s best […] Between this film and Bao, Shi has a gift for hatching allegories that translate well to animation. By unleashing her inner panda, she’s given girls everywhere inspiration to do the same.” Variety
In the US, due to the “delayed box office recovery”, Turning Red will now be released directly to Disney+ rather than theatrically on March 11th 2022.
The movie is scheduled to be released theatrically in countries without the streaming service.