‘Turning Red’ pulls the heart strings

Friends, family and turning into a giant red panda, something everyone can relate to, right?


Jay Sanders, SNN Writer

Turning Red, a new Disney+ movie, is an astounding story of complicated family dynamics and the difficulties of finding that school and life balance.

It is a coming of age movie about a 13-year-old girl named Mei Lee. Lee is obsessed with the idea of being perfect in order to prove herself worthy of her mother’s love. As she gains new friends and interest – and unexpectantly turns into a giant red panda – she has to face the fact that she has become her own person, who is the opposite of what her mother is, much to her mother’s disappointment.

And this leads into the movie covering the topic of generational trauma.

Generational trauma is a difficult thing to break. In this movie it shows how toxic traits can be passed down from generation to generation. In the Lee family everyone is struggling to be the idealistic version of what their mother wants them to be. They struggle with the idea of never being enough for anyone, even themselves.

Mei Lee is able to break this chain not by herself but through the help of her friends, Abby, Priya and Miriam. They are not family, but they are a support system. Whenever Mei Lee feels stressed, she is able to contain her emotions through the help of her friends.

The storytelling is a beautiful way of highlighting situations like these that occur all too often.

We can all relate to feeling like we aren’t quite enough or that we are not meeting expectations.

Beyond the movie’s themes there is a lot of debate surrounding the animation of this movie, but I love it. A lot of Pixar fans are not fond of the more cartoonish style evident in this movie. But the animation is super cute and fits the personality of the movie.

I think the movie accurately represents how children act and how they think because I often found myself relating to the struggles of Mei Lee, minus the stalker parents and turning into a huge red panda. Mei and her friends each have their own unique personality. From skater to goth their group offers a wide variety.

This movie gets four out of five red pandas. The movie was a wonderful representation of the world of adolescence and what it means to break the chain of generational trauma – all of this explored through the use of an adorable animation style that everyone can love and enjoy.