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Turning Red

Turning Red is a 2022 American computer-animated fantasy comedy film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It was directed by Domee Shi in her feature directorial debut, written by Shi and Julia Cho, and produced by Lindsey Collins. It stars the voices of Rosalie Chiang, Sandra Oh, Ava Morse, Hyein Park, Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, Orion Lee, Wai Ching Ho, Tristan Allerick Chen, and James Hong.

Set in Toronto, Ontario in 2002, it follows Meilin "Mei" Lee, a 13-year-old Chinese-Canadian student who, due to a hereditary curse, transforms into a giant red panda when she experiences any strong emotion. Inspired by Shi's experiences growing up in Toronto, the film began development in 2018 after she pitched it to Pixar in October 2017. It is the first Pixar film solely directed by a woman.

Plot[]

In 2002 Toronto, 13-year-old Meilin "Mei" Lee, who lives with her parents Ming and Jin, helps take care of the family's temple dedicated to their ancestor Sun Yee and works to make Ming proud. She hides her personal interests from Ming such as the fact that she and her three best friends Miriam Mendelsohn, Priya Mangal, and Abby Park are fans of the boy band 4*Town. One night when Ming, who is strictly overprotective, discovers Mei's crush on Devon, the local convenience store clerk, she inadvertently humiliates Mei in public.

Later, Mei has a vivid nightmare involving red pandas. When she wakes up that morning, she has transformed into a large red panda. She hides from her parents and discovers that she transforms only when she is in a state of high emotion, though her hair remains red causing her to go to school in a beanie. Ming initially believes Mei is experiencing her first period, but learns the truth when she gets into an argument with the school security guard, causing Mei to transform and run home in panic.

Ming and Jin explain that Sun Yee was granted this transformation to protect her two daughters, and every female family member since then has also transformed when they came of age. This has become inconvenient and dangerous in modern times, so the red panda spirit must be sealed in a talisman by a ritual on the night of the Red Moon; the next being in a month's time. Mei's friends discover her transformation, but take a liking to it and Mei finds that concentrating on them helps control the red panda within her.

Ming allows Mei to resume her normal life, but refuses to let Mei attend 4*Town's upcoming concert. Instead, the girls secretly raise money for the tickets at school, exploiting the popularity of Mei's red panda form while lying to Ming. To cover the last ticket, Mei agrees to attend school bully Tyler Nguyen-Baker's birthday party as the red panda. At the party, Mei is upset to discover that the concert will be held on her ritual night instead of the following night like Abby said earlier on due to a misunderstanding. In the midst of her rage, she attacks Tyler when he insults her family, frightening the other kids. Ming discovers Mei's activities and accuses her friends of corrupting and taking advantage of her. Afraid to stand up to her mother while ashamed, Mei fails to come to her friends' defense.

Mei's grandmother Wu, her aunts, her cousins, and their neighbor Mr. Gao come to assist in her ritual to Ming's dismay. As Mei prepares herself, Jin finds videos she took of herself as the red panda with her friends and tells her she should not be ashamed of this side of her, but to embrace it. During the ritual as Mei's red panda form is about to be sealed, she decides to keep her powers and abandons the ritual to attend the concert at the SkyDome, where she reconciles with her friends. They discover that Tyler is also a 4*Town fan. However, an enraged Ming transforms into a 100 ft. red panda (due to Mei inadvertently breaking her talisman during her escape from the temple) and disrupts the concert, intending to take Mei back by force.

Mei and Ming argue about Mei's independence. As they quarrel, Mei accidentally knocks her mother unconscious. Wu, the aunts, and the cousins break their talismans to use their red panda forms to help drag Ming into a new ritual circle. Mei's friends and 4*Town join in singing to complete the ritual, sending Mei, Ming, and the other women to the astral plane. Mei reconciles with Ming and helps her mend her bond with Wu, whom Ming accidentally scarred in anger at some point before sealing her red panda form years prior. The other women conceal their red pandas in new talismans while Mei decides to keep hers with Ming accepting that she is finding her own path.

Later as the Lee family raises money to repair the damage caused at the SkyDome, Mei and Ming's relationship has improved as Mei balances her temple duties – where her red panda is now an attraction – with spending time with her friends, now including Tyler.

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