PREVIEW: Turning Red

Turning Red is a new Pixar movie available to watch on Disney+! The movie was released on March 11th, and features a Chinese Canadian 13-year old named Mei Lee. The film explores the tension between the chaos of adolescence and being a dutiful daughter. Themes of individualism versus family values seem apparent, a struggle many second-gen children of immigrants can speak to. 

So far, I’ve heard mixed opinions about the film. After the trailer came out, there were a few letterboxd reviews that expressed elements of the trailer that rubbed them the wrong way. Specifically, some expressed disappointment with the film’s ancestral magic trope, which may arguably reinforce outdated views of Chinese people. Mei’s illustration also looks somewhat white, and once she gains her ability to turn into a red panda, her hair also turns red, which some expressed, erases any asian features that were there in the first place. This transformation coinciding with her gaining confidence was an aspect some felt uncomfortable with.

However, despite hearing negative reactions, I’m going to go into the film with an open mind. As someone who has a protective, overbearing mom, (like the protagonist) I feel like I’ll be able to relate to this film. I really enjoyed Domee Shi’s short film, Bao, which made her the first woman to direct a short film for Pixar, so when I heard that she’s coming out with a movie, I was super hyped. It’s great to see representation of both women and AAPI creators at Pixar, so I can’t wait to watch this film!

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