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Pixar's Turning Red Reviews Are Online, See What Critics Think Of The Animated Film

Turning Red.
(Image credit: Pixar)

The newest offering from Pixar is almost here! Turning Red, a coming-of-age story, takes Meilin "Mei" Lee through the awkward stages of adolescence. Definitely not helping matters is the fact that Mei turns into a giant red panda anytime she gets excited or feels other strong emotions. (The trailer definitely gave us Teen Wolf vibes.) Rosalie Chiang stars as the voice of Mei, and Sandra Oh plays her mother Ming Lee. Critics have screened the movie, so let’s see what they had to say. 

Turning Red is skipping theaters and going straight to Disney+ — a fact that not all were excited about — but if you do decide to check this one out, you can do so starting March 11 from the comfort of your own home. Critics’ first reactions to Turning Red seemed positive, for the most part, so let’s dive a little deeper and see what they say worked and didn’t work about Pixar’s Turning Red

Starting with Petrana Radulovic of Polygon, she highly praises Turning Red, noting that Domee Shi finds a way to tell a deeply personal story that is also universal in how it explores identity, culture and growing up:

As with Bao, Shi never compromises the specificities to pander to more general viewers. Though Mei proclaims at the beginning of the film that she’s full of confidence, she spends most of its runtime growing into actually feeling that sense of self. By the end of the movie, though, she’s fully embraced her individuality, and found ways to let it live alongside the other parts of her life. In that way, Turning Red feels like the result of her growth, a movie that unabashedly and jovially embraces its own identity in such a tender way that it aches.

Kate Erbland of IndieWire grades the movie an A-, calling Turning Red one of Pixar’s best films yet. She says the message of loving yourself is rendered fresh and new with this personal story and bright animation.

That tension — plus all that teen girl confusion, multiplied by red panda mania — manifests in bright, colorful, zippy animation (some of the best in recent Pixar memory), with Shi and her animators often unfurling more classic style animation to tell storybook scenes or to contextualize the legacy of what Mei is enduring. It’s emotional, stunning, and a joy to behold. That can be said of the entire film, which sets a course for what a modern Pixar film can (and should) look like, sound like, and obsess over.

Alonso Duralde of The Wrap notes that director Domee Shi gives Turning Red a unique female perspective that hasn’t been seen in Pixar movies before. 

For all of its unforgettable films, Pixar has justifiably taken heat for its lack of women in the director’s chair, and 'Turning Red' acts as an object example of the universal but relatable storytelling that comes from offering a female perspective in family-friendly comedy. It’s a film as cuddly as Meimei’s panda form, but it’s also a perceptive examination of how one person’s coming-of-age has a ripple effect on those closest to them.

Siddhant Adlakha of IGN rates the movie an “Amazing” 9 out of 10, calling it a visually inspired knockout. 

A story of magical transformation as a metaphor for personal and cultural change, Turning Red (from Bao director Domee Shi) is Pixar’s funniest and most imaginative film in years. It captures the wild energy of adolescence, uses pop stars as a timeless window into puberty, and tells a tale of friendship and family in the most delightfully kid-friendly way.

If Turning Red sounds like a movie you’re interested in, you can check it out starting Friday, March 11, with a Disney+ subscription (opens in new tab). Also be sure to check out our 2022 Movie Release Schedule to start planning your next movie outing.

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.