'Turning Red' is a turning point for Asians in film.

Puberty might be the most relatable human experience we go through. 

But in the case of the character of Meilin Lee in Disney and Pixar's latest film, "Turning Red", her teen angst is marred with the slight complication of turning into a red panda bear. 

Turning Red shows the power of movies to be both culturally specific and universally relatable. 

Pixar’s new coming-of-age comedy follows a 13-year-old Asian-Canadian whiz kid named Mei (Rosalie Chiang) who’s horrified when she transforms into a giant red panda, the result of her Chinese ancestors' mystic connection with the animal that’s affected her mother Ming (Sandra Oh) and all the other females in her family. 

Director and co-writer Domee Shi based the roots of the story (Teen Wolf-inspired transformation aside) on her own Toronto upbringing in the 2000s. 

turning red movie

turning red movie

Turning Red is not only Pixar’s first film to center around a Chinese-Canadian family and not only its first film solely directed by a woman, it’s also the animation studio's first film to represent a clear metaphor for puberty. 

Represented within and alongside the film’s broad, sharp comedy stylings and pop star-obsessed teens, however, are more culturally specific aspects Shi and her voice cast were excited to explore. 

Turning Red is currently streaming on Disney+.