"Turning Red" movie review taken down, slammed for calling film "unrelatable"

Mar 9 2022, 4:02 pm

A review for Disney Pixar’s latest film Turning Red, has been taken down after being slammed for calling the film about the ups and downs of being a teenage girl “unrelatable.”

The review, titled “In Pixar’s Latest Comedy, Girls Just Wanna Have Fur,” was published on Tuesday and taken down that night. It was written by Sean O’Connell, the managing director of the website CinemaBlend.

He tweeted an apology on Tuesday afternoon, but the damage had already been done.

“I’m genuinely sorry for my Turning Red review,” he said. “It is clear that I didn’t engage nearly enough with the movie, nor did I explain my point of view well, at all.”

The movie follows Meilin Lee, a confident and dorky Chinese Canadian teenager experiencing the rollercoaster ride that is adolescence. Her protective mother, Ming, is always on her tail — quite literally. As if changes to her interests, relationships, and body weren’t enough, whenever Meilin gets too excited, she “poofs” into a giant red panda.

O’Connell’s main argument in the review is that Turning Red’s target audience is incredibly specific (specifically geared towards anyone who has experienced being a teenage girl); therefore, it “exhausted” him more than it entertained him.

“So by design, Turning Red needs to ramp up its nervous system and plug directly into the mindset of a young woman,” wrote O’Connell. “It’s… a lot. It demands Turning Red to ramp up to an ’11’ and stay there. It wore me out.”

The writer, who is a white male, then criticized the movie for being rooted in director Domee Shi’s experience as a Chinese Canadian woman.

“By rooting Turning Red very specifically in the Asian community of Toronto, the film legitimately feels like it was made for Domee Shi’s friends and immediate family members,” he said. “Which is fine… but also, a tad limiting in its scope.”

For context, the “limited scope” he is referring to is 1.8 million Canadians of Chinese descent, according to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenships Canada, and the population of 4.1 million people who identify as Chinese in the US. Not to mention, over half of Canada’s population of women and girls, regardless of race.

In a now-deleted tweet where O’Connell shared his review, the writer said the target audience for the movie was “very narrow” and that he is “not in it,” which made it “exhausting.”

Fans were quick to defend the film and flooded his tweet with angry replies.

“This is embarrassing,” one person tweeted.

Many told him to check his privilege.

Others suggest he expand his consumption of art and “de-centre” his whiteness.

A lot of people aren’t satisfied with his apology.

Whether you’re Chinese-Canadian, a teenage girl, or not, the response from the film’s fans is a great indication of Turning Red’s not-so-limited audience.

The film will be available to watch on March 11 on Disney+.

Isabelle DoctoIsabelle Docto

+ Movies & TV
+ Curated
+ Pop Culture