by Morgan Collins
The newest edition to Disney Plus is the 2022 movie Turning Red. This movie faced a lot of hostility even before it reached the box office. The film only received 66% on Rotten Tomatoes and became the staple of much resentment in a large number of people. Although, I will admit at times the movie can be quite cheesy; it has many messages that resonate in children and adults alike.
Similar to Disney’s Encanto, the movie was primarily centered around generational trauma and family pressure. In Turning Red the main character, Melin Lee, constantly seeks out her mother’s approval in everything she does. This is similar to the way Mirabel desperately wants Abuela’s approval throughout Encanto. In both movies there is an immense amount of pressure placed on each member of the family and they feel they have no choice but to act perfect all the time. This generational trauma and stigma of perfection is a problem many children and adults have to face in their lives. The most heartwarming scene in the entire movie comes at the end when Melin Lee goes to find her mother and put an end to the curse for both of them. However, when she finds her mother she sees the broken child she once was too. This movie doesn’t just talk about generational trauma but also brings home the fact that parents can be a byproduct of this trauma as well and that you must forgive and accept who they are.
Another message of the film that is unique and never before seen in a Disney movie is an overt discussion of the physical stages of development. Over the course of the movie, the characters talk openly about periods and other aspects of puberty that come with adolescence. Throughout the movie, you can see the character frequently mentioning pads and other femine hygiene products. This is a never before seen inclusion in a Disney movie. For me personally, it is a breath of fresh air to see movies finally taking the stigma away from periods. This is a huge deal for many adolescent girls who finally see a character on the big screen share similar struggles. These events in the movie promote body positivity and being yourself.