Turning Red Review
This film has had a lot of backlash over the fact that it openly talks about women’s periods, and that to me is shocking, because it is a normal part of life that every woman will go through and it shouldn’t be hidden away or seen as disgusting.
Turning Red follows 13-year-old Meilin as she becomes a woman, however the way that they present starting your period in this film is that her family were cursed with becoming a red panda and any emotional reaction to life would cause her to become this giant red panda, and while it’s very cute it’s also quite terrifying to be a 13-year-old girl finding yourself and having to deal with this monster.
In the film we see her go through all the changes that a 13-year-old girl does including noticing boys for the first time, having her body odour change, and even the mood swings that come with your time of the month. I also love the fact that they could conceal the red panda so it wasn’t a side of Meilin anymore but they could only do it once a month on the red moon. All the symbolisms were there for a woman’s period however at no point did it feel too on the nose that it would scare children away or gross them out to not want to watch.
For generations Meilin’s ancestors have hidden away the red panda and gotten rid of it, however we see that Meilin actually embraces her red panda and we realise that this part of us symbolised in the red panda is just something that we have to get used to and acknowledge and learn to live with. I think watching this as a teenager could be so poignant in understanding what is happening to your body and being able to give that side of you a persona of a red panda, or whatever you want it to be, to come to terms with it easier.
I remember being a teenager when all this was going on and it was terrifying. It was a very hard time and schools and books weren’t always the easiest things to understand or helpful, especially in school it was more about don’t get pregnant then this is what’s happening to your body, and so you came into this new world alone and scared. Unless you had parents there who would help you with this side of you, you did feel ashamed for what you were going through. You’re so young when it happens that you don’t feel ready to become a woman yet and I feel this is something that a lot of people can agree with.
I think this film is great at describing your changing body during your teenage years for women and how it’s not something to be scared of but something to embrace and be proud of, because it shows that you are growing as a person too. I especially love how this was set in 2002 because that was my era of growing up, and seeing all the references and Easter eggs just added to that fun and enjoyment of the film that takes away from the horror of becoming a woman.
I highly recommend this film to anyone who is interested in it. Of course it is an incredible teaching point for teenagers going through changes, however anyone can enjoy it if they want to watch it as just another fun, animated movie. I don’t understand why it’s got all the backlash that it has because it is not bad in any way, and if I had this film when I was a teenager I’m sure I would’ve dealt with those years in a very different way than what I did.
What do you think of Turning Red?
Until next time.