Turning Red: Pixar’s new film stirs debate among critics and fans

Film has received a mostly positive reception from critics, with some controversial exceptions

Inga Parkel
Tuesday 15 March 2022 15:04 GMT
Turning Red

Pixar’s new animated film Turning Red has sparked much debate between critics and fans.

The coming-of-age story highlights the complexities of puberty from the perspective of 13-year-old Chinese-Canadian character Mei Lee, who has to decide between being an obedient daughter or giving into the mayhem of adolescence.

On Rotten Tomatoes, the movie has a critic’s rating of 94 per cent, and has been described as “heartwarming” and “joyous”.

The Independent’s critic Adam White called it “a charming coming-of-age story with lovely pops of imagination and a refreshing lack of queasiness”.

However, despite the positive critical reception, some viewers have accused the film of being “inappropriate”, while others have dismissed it as “woke brainwashing”.

Many have criticised the film’s encouragement of Mei Lee’s teenage disobedience, with one audience member on Rotten Tomatoes writing: “A flat rip off of Teen Wolf which suggests being rude to your parents and family is okay if you are an adolescent hitting puberty!”

Others attacked the open portrayal of menstruation, saying it was “over the top with puberty scenes”.

However, many fans and critics have defended the film, pointing out that puberty is an important topic that should be discussed.

Actor Dani Fernandez argued on Twitter: “It’s weird conservatives are sexualising Turning Red. I got my period in 5th grade. I was a child when I got it, like most children. I looked up the avg age. It’s 12. That’s a child. Therefore it is NOT an adult topic. You are SUPPOSED to know about them BEFORE they happen. [sic]”

One fan pointed out that, “We can have a million ‘boys will be boys’ coming of age narratives in films, but the moment we get a film that does the same for girls, suddenly it becomes taboo or ‘cringe’”.

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Last week, a review of the film published by CinamaBlend received a backlash after it was accused of being “racist” and “sexist” by a number of readers. It has since been deleted.

CinemaBlend’s editor-in-chief Mack Rawden released a statement on Twitter apologising for the review and saying that it “never should have gone up”.

“I’m genuinely sorry for my Turning Red review,” critic Sean O’Connell said in his own statement issued via Twitter.

“Thank you to everyone who has reached out with criticism, no matter how harsh. It is clear that I didn’t engage nearly enough with the movie, nor did I explain my point of view well, at all. I really appreciate your feedback.”

Turning Red can be streamed on Disney+. Read The Independent’s full review here.

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