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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Toronto MU chapter.

Pixar’s 25th animation Turning Red is a perfect adolescent coming of age movie that is filled with lots of emotions, laughter and nostalgia. It follows Meilin “Mei” Lee (voiced by Rosalie Chiang), a bright 13-year-old who is eager to honour her Chinese ancestry and appease her demanding mother, Ming (Sandra Oh). Nonetheless, her sense of responsibility clashes with her developing femininity, especially her curiosity about boys. When overprotective mom, Ming, discovers Mei’s crush on a convenience store clerk, she creates such a commotion in her neighbourhood that Mei becomes a joke amongst her peers. Mei’s humiliation drives her to morph into a massive red panda, which she discovers is linked to her family’s ancient past and happens anytime she gets extremely emotional, whether that’s angry, sad or happy. When Ming insists that Mei undergoes a limited-time-only ritual that can separate her from the red panda, Mei begins to question if the twisted wish her ancestor made is more of a blessing than a curse.

Set in Toronto in 2002, this film captures so many nostalgic moments in Toronto history, such as the old Timbits box from Tim Hortons to the previous SkyDome, now known as the Rogers Centre. The popular Y2K game, the Tamagotchi, also made an appearance. Mississauga’s very own and recent Netflix star, Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, voiced the moody Priya, one of the three friends in Mei’s close circle. 

After Domee Shi’s tremendous success with Bao, which landed her an Academy Award, Shi delivers yet another beautiful and well-crafted animation but this time as a full-length feature. This makes Shi the first woman to have sole credit in directing a Pixar film in its history. In fact, this film features the first all-female Disney creative team. It shows in its analysis of girlhood, motherhood, and a little girl’s connection with her overly-protective mother. This is surely a film that will resonate with a larger audience, as it addresses topics of identity, belonging, generational pain, friendship and mother-daughter relationships. Domee Shi describes this movie as “a love letter for myself and for girls that are growing up with all of the messiness that it entails.” Turning Red is a must-see!

Turning Red is streaming exclusively on Disney +

Kadija Osman

Toronto MU '23

Kadija is a 3rd-year student at Ryerson University majoring in journalism and minoring in English. Her true great loves are books, films, and Timothée Chalamet.