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Turning Red (PG)

Cast: Ava Morse, Rosalie Chiang, Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, Hyein Park, Sandra Oh
Genre: Comedy
Author(s): Julia Cho, Domee Shi
Director: Domee Shi
Release Date: 11/03/2022
Running Time: 100mins
Country: US
Year: 2022

In 2002 Toronto, 13-year-old Meilin Lee abides by one mantra: honour your parents, they are the supreme beings who gave you life. Consequently, Meilin is an academic high achiever, who bends to the will of her overly protective mother Ming and laidback father Jin. When Ming humiliates her daughter in front of secret crush Devon, Meilin unwittingly unlocks a dark family secret. Every time the 13-year-old succumbs to embarrassment and excitement, she metamorphoses into a giant red panda.


LondonNet Film Review
Turning Red (PG)

In 2002 Toronto, 13-year-old Meilin Lee (voiced by Rosalie Chiang) abides by one mantra: honour your parents, they are the supreme beings who gave you life. Consequently, Meilin is an academic high achiever, who bends to the will of her overly protective mother Ming (Sandra Oh) and laidback father Jin (Orion Lee). After school, she welcomes tourists to the family’s temple, which is dedicated to an ancestor who famously protected red pandas…

When Ming humiliates her daughter in front of secret crush Devon (Addie Chandler), Meilin unwittingly unlocks a dark family secret. Every time the 13-year-old succumbs to embarrassment and excitement, she metamorphoses into a giant red panda. Fearful of her “furry ticking timebomb”, Meilin retreats from the people closest to her until her grandmother (Wai Ching Ho) and clucky aunties arrive to administer a cure.

Turning Red is a hugely entertaining computer-animated fantasy from Pixar Animation Studios, directed and written by Domee Shi and co-written by Julia Cho. The opening hour is a sassy coming-of-age comedy in a similar vein to Booksmart and Clueless, relishing bonds of sisterly solidarity that help Meilin navigate adolescence with her gal pals Miriam (Ava Morse), Abby (Hyein Park) and Priya (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan), who share an obsession with dreamy boy band 4*town.

The group’s catchy songs “1 True Love”, “Nobody Like U” and “U Know What’s Up” are co-written by Billie Eilish and brother Finneas O’Connell and affectionately pay homage to the synchronised gyrations of N*Sync and Backstreet Boys. A seemingly unbridgeable emotional divide between Meilin and her mother lays the groundwork for a haphazard finale that panders to storytelling convention and dilutes some of the whip smart attitude of earlier scenes.

-Kim Hu


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