Coming Attractions,  disney,  entertainment,  Film Reviews

Turning Red Embraces Teen Stress of Perfection Through Chinese Culture

People have all sorts of sides to them and some of them are just plain messy.  Those are the sides we desperately try to hide in fear of being judged or labeled. There are also those side that we hide from our parents fearing we will no longer be viewed as their perfect creation and contribution to society.

In Turning Red, Mei Lee  (Rosalie Chiang) is a 13-year-old girl torn between being her mother’s (Sandra Oh) obedient daughter and giving into the chaos of her adolescence. As if that weren’t enough, when she gets too stressed out, Mei literally  turns into a big red panda making her literally someone who is ‘Turning Red.’

In Chinese culture, a red panda is viewed as a symbol of gentleness, compromise, and patience with spiritual meanings include balance, independence, security, as well as nonchalance. Mei Lee learns to balance of these sides while making the determination to move forward as her authentic self as opposed to being who others want her to be.

Director/Writer Domee Shi, who brought us the emotionally adorable ‘Bao,‘ hits the nail on the head again tapping into teenage girl issues making this film  hilariously fun.  Complete with boy band hysteria over ‘4 Town,’ sneaking out to attend a concert, leaning into the all too uncomfortable, yet complicated world of mothers and daughters and the food…all of the food!!!

Pixar and Shi totally honor the Chinese culture with images of coy ponds within the Lee temple, how ancestors and traditions are respected is something that as a Black women I loved bearing witness to all of it.  Dramatizing the angst and complexity of being a teen girl, along with how friendships ebb and flow is right on point as well.  Not to mention dialogue lines full of vitriol and insults like calling someone the “Barack Obama of fungus…” is pure comedy for sure.

Most of all Turning Red is a great lesson in respect, understanding and embracing labels of all kinds, while touting a very catchable soundtrack.  I need that 4 Town concert in my life like yesterday.  In the meantime, you can stream Turning Red on Disney Plus now

I love, love love movies, watching them and discussing them...thus the birth of The Curvy Film Critic!!! Host/Producer/FilmCritic,Carla Renata is a member of such esteemed organizations as Critics Choice Association (Co-President Documentary Branch), African American Film Critics Association, Online Association of Female Film Critics and Alliance of Women Film Journalists. My op-eds or features have been seen in VARIETY, RogerEbert.com, Maltin on Movies, The Cherry Picks, IGN Movies, as well as being a frequent Guest Contributor to Fox 11-LA, Good Day LA, ET Live!, Turner Classic Movies, KCRW Press Play with Madeline Brand, The Cherry Picks, The Stream Team (Beond TV) ITV, Fox Soul's The Black Report, The ListTV and more. Catch my reviews on The Curvy Critic with Carla Renata - LIVE!!! Mondays 5pm PST via You Tube or Facebook Live. If you like what you read please shout me out and subscribe to The Curvy Critic on YouTube. You can chat with me across all social media platforms @TheCurvyCritic and as always, thanks for supporting a sista'

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