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When it comes to animated children's movies, there aren’t many that can be seen as educational or many that become a trigger for public discourse. Most of the time when we watch animated films, they are there to entertain children, dive into the lives of superheroes, or show us the bad and the good sides of this world we live in. However, when watching Turning Red, you could see that the producers wanted to go beyond the simple entertaining narrative that most animations follow.
Unlike traditional animated children films, there are three different angles that I noticed when watching this animation from Pixar.
Firstly, the main trigger for public discourse was the controversial depiction of a maturing young woman in puberty. Never before in the history of Pixar’s animated films has a topic been thrust into the spotlight, turning the movie into an unconventional celebration of teenage girlhood.
The very scene which caused the heat of controversy was where a character experiences her first period and mood swing. Their mother then barges in with an exhilarated expression showing a collection of pads. This scene was undoubtedly surprising with many finding it tendentious and even outrageous. As these types of animations are predominantly made for babies and children this comes as no surprise.
According to Disney Plus the movie is suitable for kids over the age of 6, however, it’s up to the parents if they want to explain period problems to their child after watching this movie.
The second interesting angle is inconspicuously showing life with diabetes. When watching the movie you noticed that some of the kids were wearing a diabetes patch with a pump, a typical built-in glucose monitor. A lot of people praised the creators of the film for including this, as diabetic representation is hardly seen in films.
Finally, the last interesting angle is the representation of communities. Encanto received a lot of applause and success due to its representation of South American culture. Turning Red is based in the city of Toronto in Canada and shed a light on the Asian community in Canada.
The struggles of a 13-year-old teenage girl trying to find the balance of upholding the traditions of family unity in the Asian community while trying to find her place as a teenager in society, discovering and establishing her own opinions and decisions. The movie does a good job of showing this contrast as you see the protagonist conflicted between her own independence while maintaining the strong bond she has developed with her mother, especially as an only child. This aspect and many more are certainly topics that many teenagers worldwide can relate to.
To sum up my overall feelings and impressions of the movie, I could easily tell that I found the movie unconventional. Whether the way creators tackled this movie is good or bad is for further discussion for real critics and experts.