When I saw Turning Red on the day of it’s premiere, there are were a few aspects of it that I didn’t like, but I didn’t expect that the movie would generate much controversy. It would seem to be generally well received, with 94% on the Tomatometer and an audience score of 73% as of this writing. I liked it a lot myself! This article from Vox goes over what some people dislike about it. I can understand some of the complaints, but others I would say are unwarranted. Some mild spoilers ahead.
An early controversy about the movie was a review that said it was unrelatable. Critic Sean O’Connell from CinemaBlend said that it was relatable to only a small number of people, mainly to the people in the small community in Canada where writer/director Domee Shi is from and to teenage girls. After a firestorm of complaints, the review was taken down and the author apologized. I can understand some aspects of his point of view – I suppose younger children and boys in particular might not understand or related to Turning Red, but that still leaves around half of the population of the planet who have had experiences growing into adulthood as a female, practically all of the planet who has or will go through puberty, and also many people of any sex or race who have had to travel through life carrying the heavy weight of high parental expectations. My wife enjoyed the movie but so did Number One Son and Number Two Son, who are both in their twenties.
Another prominent complaint is that the movie encourages children to be disobedient and rude to their parents. As this now viral tweet mentions, daughter’s disobedience is a theme of many Disney movies, from Mulan to the Little Mermaid:
Everyone who’s upset about Pixar Turning Red’s Meilin disobeying her parents and “sneaking out of the house,” let me remind you of a few Disney films where the girl disobeyed and no one was in an uproar about it:
— Raising Whasians (@raisingwhasians) March 13, 2022
I did sympathize with that complaint, though. As a parent, it’s difficult to deal with kids who disobey, especially when you are trying to keep them safe. I remember there was one kid that we wanted The Daughter to stay away from. She didn’t, and then later I got a call that started with, “Dad, the paramedic wants to talk to you…” Then again, kids will disobey their parents and try to get away with it – I think it would be the unusual child who did not wouldn’t try.
There are other objections, some on the extreme end like saying that the movie is demonic. Some people object to the “adult theme” of menstration that is present in the movie, to which others respond by pointing out that puberty is something that children experience. Still, despite these complaints, objections, and possible review bombing, it’s hard to deny that Turning Red has been overall well received.
Turning Red can be streamed on Disney Plus.