You are never going to believe this, but I have things to say about Turning Red.
The framework in which I make it all about me (part 1 of 2 – I have so many words): I don’t watch sad things. A whole lot of Pixar’s catalog is off-limits to me, but I made an exception so I could watch Turning Red. I actually timed how far I could make it into the movie before I started crying: 27:09:11.
Man I love data.
As a Chinese-Canadian woman, I am exercising my right – nay, my DUTY – to provide my unsolicited opinion on Turning Red:
Honestly, I did love it. It was spectacular to see myself represented as not only the main character in an animated film, but one set in Canada! My icy heart melted, and please excuse my Divine Ya-Ya squirting here but I’m so happy for all the women and girls that’ll experience the sheer delight of representation. It’s such an important thing. You can tell, because of all the white men losing their absolute shit at the movie. It mentions periods! The movie isn’t even ABOUT periods – it’s an analogy – but periods are MENTIONED and there are PADS and THINK OF THE CHILDREN!
Obviously everyone’s first period story is different, but I honestly don’t understand any of the outcry. It’s a biological function that affects 50% of the population – that’s over 3.5 billion people – yet it’s “too personal” a subject to discuss. Yeah, get the fuck out of here with that bullshit. We were taught about periods in grade 5/age 10. Mine came in at age 11. Still waiting to turn into a panda, though.
I also watched Encanto recently, and while that movie made me cry sooner than 27 minutes in, I *sobbed* throughout Turning Red. Full on ugly cries. I wiped my tears away with a hot dog bun. I don’t recommend it.
It’s not just the main story that made me cry, though – so much of the film is so well done (minor spoilers ahead):
- The friendship between Meilin, Miriam, Priya, and Abby: I wish I had friends like that when I was 13. Hell, I wish I had friends like that now. Note: if anyone is looking to start a friend group, I will gladly be your Abby: I’m short, round, weird, and enthusiastic, and I probably already own pink overalls.
- The relationship between Meilin and her mother made me sob because I also had a Skydome-destroying fight with my mother, but we didn’t get our happy ending. And it was in Victoria. Ever wonder why they replaced Memorial Arena with the Save-On-Foods Arena? Yo.
- Elder relatives! I don’t know any of mine. More crying.
- Being “different” yet beloved? How does that even work? I cried because I want to light up rooms I’m in.
- Absolutely no big deal being made about Tyler being an annoying shit bully who is secretly probably gay and becomes the 5th member of the friend group by the end. I cried because it was cute.
- I skipped the boy band craze of multiple generations, so I cried because I was confused. This may have been where the hot dog bun came in, but my memories of the evening are soggy.
If you haven’t yet watched Turning Red, I recommend it. I love that Pixar is finally starting to tell stories from BIPOC POVs and from women – Domee Shi previously won an Oscar for the Pixar short Bao. I’m going to reuse a trick that went around at the height of Black Lives Matter campaigns – even if you aren’t watching the video, stream it in the background so it registers the view. More viewers = more chances for people to tell their stories. Hollywood is finally starting to realize that brilliant things can come from people who aren’t cis white hetero men, so let’s help that along any way we can.
TL;DR: Movie good. Feelings bad. Therapy coming.