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Today is the release of Disney Pixar’s newest original feature film, Turning Red. This fun animated film will introduce us to Meilin Lee, or just Mei if you’re her friend. She is in a crucial part of her life as a thirteen-year-old. All of the pressures of growth, education, and social interactions flood her world on a daily basis. But she seems to have a great handle on it. Her grades are good, she has a great group of friends, and has a solid relationship with her mother. But of course, things get quite hairy.
Mei discovers that her emotional state can turn her into a giant red panda. The only way to turn back into her human form is to calm down. Now what was once a “perfect” situation is worse than ever. Especially her relationship with her mother. Which is becoming more and more strained as the film moves on. How will she cope with this fantastical situation?
Lucky for Mei, as we stated in the beginning, has a great group of friends. One that has stood by her side and watched her be the exemplary girl day in and day out. Now with everything seemingly falling apart, her friends are there to support her. Even as a giant panda. LRM Online was a part of a press conference with the cast and creators of Turning Red. During this time one of the topics that were discussed was the role of friendship.
Friendship In Disney Pixar’s Turning Red
In Turning Red, Ava Morse voices Miriam one of Mei’s friends. She shared with us her current high school experience and what teenagers are going through. “I’m currently a high school student. Everybody is just growing and changing together. It can be very stressful and dark at times, because everyone is going through a lot, and not everyone knows how to handle that.” Said Morse.
But even if you’re not sure how to handle everything going on, Morse talks about how it’s a good thing that you know everyone else is also going through the same thing. Meaning they can rely on and support one another. “It’s kind of a beautiful thing because everybody in that together, and put it all into living their lives the best they can. I think that’s great. Al my friends mean so much to me. They’re all very supportive no matter what.” She continued.
With that, came her inspiration for Miriam in Turning Red. “I think I was really inspired by my own friends putting them into Miriam herself because she is such a supportive, amazing friend to Mei-Mei and the other girls. But because my friends are so supportive and always there for you no matter what. So that was really cool to kinda give back in that way.” Said Morse.
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But can these friendships last? Or are they something that fizzles out after the school years are over? Sandra Oh that voices Mei’s mother, Ming chimes in on the question. Also tells us about the value of those friends during those crucial moments in life. “What I love about this film through friendship, and also music, it’s that precious time when you’re starting to figure out who you are. When your friends become really, really important. You know, for me, the girls that I grew up with in, Nepean, Ontario, we’re still all friends.” Said Oh.
The magic in Turning Red is not in the transformation of a girl into a giant red panda. But in its portrayal of the crucial impact relationships can have in a girl’s life that is going through so many changes. It is a great film that many will be able to relate to either in present time or from their past experience regardless of gender.
Disney/Pixar’s Turning Red is now available exclusively on Disney+.