Turning Red Receives Mixed Reviews from Parents and Critiques Alike


Tambako the Jaguar

Turning Red reviews cause chaos among the battlefield of social media.

Ruby Carrero-Pomales, Reporter

Pixar’s latest film, “Turning Red,” has been riddled with controversy from viewers. The movie has become a cultural warzone, with some praising the film for it’s openness on taboo topics like menstruation and it’s accurate depiction of life as a pre-teen in the early 2000s, while others make the claim that the movie portrays anti-family values and discusses topics that are inappropriate for children.

“Turning Red,” is a coming of age story about a 13 year-old Asian-Canadian girl named Meilin Lee.  After being embarrassed by her mother, Meilin wakes up one morning as a red panda. Although shocked at first, she learns that the women in her family have are gifted with being given a red panda spirit during the onset of puberty. Throughout the film, Meilin uses panda her spirit to her advantage in a journey of self discovery.

While most review websites have rated the film highly, social media has been buzzing with the opinions of casual viewers. Some complain that the film is focused on too much of a specific demographic, whether it be teenage girls or East Asians, saying that the movie alienates others who don’t fit into it’s intended audience, making the film unenjoyable to those outside of those groups.

On Twitter the Managing Editor of CinemaBlend, Sean O’Connell, tweeted, “I recognized the humor in the film, but connected with none of it. By rooting ‘Turning Red’ very specifically in the Asian community of Toronto, the film legitimately feels like it was made for [director] Domee Shi’s friends and immediate family members. Which is fine — but also, a tad limiting in its scope.”

Some audience members completely disagreed with O’connel, in a tweet from user @LancyBanis, “.@CriticsChoice and @CinemaBlend, the tweet and review may be deleted, but we now all know Sean O’Connell’s racist and sexist opinions because he was given a platform in which to spew his intolerance. Is this what you stand for? Is this what you’ll tolerate? Remove him now.” 

Along with the relatability of the film being discussed, there has also been discussion around the topic of periods being mentioned in the film. Even though there is a great amount of support for the choice, some parents have been up in arms around the portrayal of the topic, saying that it’s completely inappropriate and shouldn’t be discussed.

Twitter user @DeannaMancini3 had this to say on the topic, “This movie was completely inappropriate. I watched it with my 12 year old son. Why are we writing a movie around women’s menstrual cycles and advertising it as a panda movie? To make a movie about children’s prepubescent discovery of sexuality is very disturbing. #TurningRed.”

Though there were some negative reactions to the film’s showing of menstruation, some viewers were excited about the showing of periods. In an article from Chron.com, a reviewer wrote, “Never in my life have I seen mainstream media aimed at children show pads or even speak the word ‘period.’ If I had seen something like this when I started puberty, I think I would’ve been a lot less hard on myself.”

With the all the discussion around the film, cast members have come out from the woodworks to give their opinions on the movie’s reviews. In an interview with CBC, Rosalie Chiang, the voice of Meilin Lee, opposed the assertion that only a small portion of the film’s audience could relate to the movie saying, “This is a coming-of-age film. Everyone goes through this change. … I think different people of different cultures are going to go through it differently, but at the end of the day, the core messiness and change is something everyone can relate to.”

Despite the discourse, the film has received a 94% from the ‘Rotten Tomatoes,’ TOMATOMETER. Rating highly among the animated film crowd.