“Turning Red” Review: Did it Cross a Line?


Hannah Barham

Turning Red hit movie theaters on March 1st before being released on Disney+ on March 11th, 2022 for the world to see. The movie takes place in 2002, and this movie does a great job of representing the early 2000s culture. Tamagotchis, cheesy boy bands, you name it. The film depicts a 13 year old Chinese-Canadian girl named Mei who is going through the stages of becoming a teenager and growing up. Because of this, she falls victim to the family curse and turns into a red panda every time her emotions get out of whack. 

The film received praise from viewers everywhere, claiming the film provided a great representation of Chinese culture and the issue of parents enforcing their children to be “perfect”, as shown by Mei Lin’s mother. The film was also criticized. The film depicts puberty and makes indirect references to girls growing up, getting crushes, etc. There is an ongoing argument that Turning Red is not suitable for children, even though it is produced by Disney. Counterarguments say that the movie doesn’t incorrectly depict growing up and that it is a natural thing, and that people are pressed because it’s about a young girl. 

While I do agree that Disney did really walk along that fine line of not being appropriate for its target audience, also keep in mind that Disney is not a stranger to controversial movies. Remember Snow White? A happy fairy tale of a prince who saves a princess and they ride away into the sunset and live happily ever after? Well, guess what. The prince was in his late 30s and Snow White was 16. 16. And can we forget Song of the South, which was racist?

In my opinion, I think people are upset because they expect Disney to produce happy go lucky movies that still keep the formula it always has. And now that something new has come along, people aren’t ready for change. I personally liked the film, I thought it was fun to watch and followed a more realistic (well minus the turning into a giant panda) idea rather than fantastical and whimsical. The controversy surrounding it, I think it’s ridiculous because it’s just a movie, not a real world problem that needs to be taken up with the Supreme Court. If you don’t like the movie, then simply just don’t watch it.