Jessica Wolfgang ’25, Staff Writer

Turning Red, a cute, wholesome, coming of age story, follows a teenage girl coming out to be herself in a comedic and relatable way. The new Pixar movie premiered on March 11th, 2022, on Disney Plus. The movie takes place in the early 2000s in Canada, and casts a light upon a teenager’s responsibility/need to be perfect. Mei Lee, the main character, lives with her mother and father. Her mother, Ming Lee, tends to be overbearing, overprotective, and most of all very strict. Ming wishes for her daughter to be a top A+ student, be responsible, and leave her daughter’s young mind untouched and uncorrupted. To please her mother, Mei tries her best to always excel in school and never go against her mother’s wishes.

However, like every teenager, one learns to be themselves, and comes out as their own person. Mei finds this courage, as well as unconditional support, through her friends: Miriam, Abby, and Priya. Miriam, always presenting herself as dependable is like the sweet mom friend of the group, making sure all her friends aye-okay. Abby is very energetic, passionate, and willing to protect any of her friends. Finally, Priya remains very calm and “chill” throughout the movie, and is always there to listen/support her friends and their various choices. The three of them know that Mei has constantly upheld the responsibility and wishes of her mother for most of her life. They are there to help Mei realize she does not always have to be her mom’s perfect daughter. They constantly support any decision Mei makes, and in more ways than one, show her they will always be there for her.

Although she has her friends to support her, Mei must realize she can also depend on herself. Initially, she was determined to adhere to her mother’s standards, however something changes that. She starts puberty, or at least an analogy of it. Spoilers, she turns into a red panda. One may take Mei turning into a Red Panda literally: she can just turn into a Panda at any time and it has no important significance. Yes, she can turn into a red panda, but if one looks a little deeper, there is another concept to keep in mind. Her red panda transformation symbolizes her growth to realizing she can be herself. She like boys A LOT, wants to watch little concerts, and she gets into activities that are not always related to academics. The only thing stopping her complete transformation is her worry about how her mother will react to this change. At first, and for most of the movie, her mother dislikes this change in Mei. Ming was taught by her own mother to always be perfect and initially hates that Mei would be the first to break the trend in the family. However, she learns to accept and love her daughter gradually overtime.