Turning Red ★★★★
Starring Rosalie Chiang, Sandra Oh, Ava Morse, Hyein Park, Orion Lee, Maitreyi Ramakrishnan
For her feature directorial debut, Domee She presents us with Mei (Rosalie Chiang), a thirteen year old who is experiencing the tricky task of teenage-hood in a slightly alternative way to others. When over-excited, she turns into a fluffy red panda...we've all been there right?
But in seriousness, Turning Red is a refreshing change of pace for Pixar. Yes it's tackling universal themes like it usually does, but the style seems slightly different; kooky almost. There's hints at other animation styles too with those massive anime eyes, a trio of dependable and funny friends, some big and entertaining set-pieces, there's even some cutesy Disney humour in there too. Plus, it's gorgeous to look at as always (they've really got this computer animation thing nailed on haven't they?).
The relationship at the heart of this movie is between Mei and her mother Ming (Sandra Oh). As an adult, I can see the struggle in Ming to do the right thing for her daughter. As a son, I can understand how embarrassing that could be! As we get to the final chapter though these two viewpoints merge and the tearjerker Pixar moments come with their own message for Disney itself; we're doing things a little differently now.
On the whole, the message of Turning Red is pretty clear and something that's not new for us grown ups, but it is no doubt profound to those who are new to anxiety, change and the struggle that can be, growing up.
This is a film for young adults, something that I think Pixar can forget about while trying to appeal to absolutely everyone. It's a brave choice, but the right one. This wasn't made for me (I'm 34 for crying out loud), but I still had a great time and now want to go and cuddle red pandas (I won't, they're endangered and would probably bite my legs off).
Turning Red available now on Disney+