Directed by Domee Shi
Written by Julia Cho & Domee Shi
Story by Domee Shi, Julia Cho, & Sarah Streicher
Starring the voices of Rosalie Chiang, Sandra Oh, Ava Morse, Hyein Park, Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, Orion Lee, Wai Ching Ho, Tristan Allerick Chen, & James Hong
Release Date: March 11, 2022
Running Time: 1hr 40min
Set in 2002 Toronto, Meilin “Mei Mei” Lee (Chiang), is a 13-year-old Chinese-Canadian student who is horrified to discover that, due to a hereditary enchantment, transforms into a giant red panda when she expresses any strong emotion. In the midst of that drama, Mei Mei and her friends attempt to earn money to go see their favorite boy band live in concert, plus deal with her overprotective mother (Oh).
Special screenings of Turning Red took place in London at Everyman Borough Yards on February 21, 2022, and in Toronto at TIFF on March 8. The film had its world premiere at the El Capitan Theatre in Los Angeles on March 1, and was released on the Disney+ streaming service on March 11, along with simultaneous limited runs at the El Capitan Theatre, AMC Empire 25, and Grand Lake Theatre in the United States and Showcase Cinema de Lux in the United Kingdom. It was released theatrically in most countries without Disney+, and received critical acclaim.
It’s extremely rare that I don’t look forward to a Pixar movie, they knock it out of the park I would say 90% of the time. This is another example of them knocking it out of the park! This has all the right combo of funny, adorable, and even some pathos. There’s the usually top notch animation you expect from Pixar, and so many vibrant colors. Mei Mei is a super expressive character, who realistically isn’t always likable (seriously, no teenager is), which adds plenty of depth. There’s no way you can’t relate to the awkwardness that was puberty!
Her mother, Ming, can at times be overbearing, (which I gotta imagine most can relate to no matter the background) but still shows she loves her family and only wants what she thinks is best. Plus, when you meet the extended family, a lot of things make sense. Mei Mei’s group of friends are also great, each with their own fun and unique personalities, who are crazy supportive (seriously, I wish all kids were this fortunate growing up to have friends like these).
Being set in 2002 was a real nostalgia bomb for me! I was around the same age as Mei Mei in 2002 (plus the director of the film), and I remember many of the popular trends of the time this movie points out (I even had some kind of Tamagotchi myself, plus the particular cell phone of the time), especially the boy band craze (you’re lying if you grew up during that time and say you never jammed along to some N*Sync or Backstreet Boys). So yeah, see this!
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