Turning Red is the newest Pixar film to hit Disney+. It is about Mei Lee, a 13-year-old Chinese-Canadian girl, who is torn between being a perfect daughter for her mother and dealing with the chaos of being a 13-year-old. As if that were not enough, when she gets too excited, she turns into a big red panda. Yup, that’s right, a red panda.
There are plenty of things going on in Mei’s life. Her mother expecting so much out of her, being dependable to her best friends, Miriam, Priya, and Abby, middle school crushes, oh, and not to mention her love for the boy band, 4*Town. We’ve made a playlist for all of it.
Being 13 is weird. You are not an adult, but not exactly a child. The songs “I’m Not A Girl, Not Yet a Woman” by Britney Spears, and “I’m Just a Kid” by Simple Plan are perfect at explaining how being young, but not super young can be the worst.
Much of Turning Red deals with Mei’s relationship with her mother, Ming. Mei is constantly trying to prove herself to her mother, and even hides parts of herself to fit the mold Ming envisions for her. It’s clear Ming is a perfectionist and took it out on her daughter. The songs “Take Me as I Am” by Rina Sawayama, “Always Be My Baby” by Mariah Carey, and “(You Drive Me) Crazy” by Britney Spears embody the difficult but loving relationship between Mei and Ming.
Mei’s best friends Miriam, Priya, and Abby are arguably one of the best parts of Turning Red. The friendship between the four girls is rock solid and they look out for each other. Not to mention the girls know how to have fun. Check out the songs “Bootylicious” by Destiny’s Child, “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey, “Upside Down” by A*Teens, and “I’ve Got Joy” by Orange Kids Music to jam with your friends.
Mei also has a crush or two during the film. First is Devon, the store clerk. At first, Mei isn’t that into Devon. But she gets home and notices she is drawing his face all over her notebook. (Let’s forget the humiliating actions her mother took after she found the notebook.) Then at school Mei notices a cute new kid and is lovestruck by him. “Crush” by Mandy Moore and “Puppy Love” by Paul Anka describe the not-so-serious but overwhelming feelings Mei has about these boys.
Who can forget the iconic boy band, 4*Town? It isn’t surprising Mei is a total fangirl for the band. Check out the songs “Nobody Like U,” “1 True Love,” and “U Know What’s Up” to get a taste of the five singing and dancing heartthrobs. 4*Town is reminiscent of *NSYNC and The Backstreet Boys so of course “It’s Gonna Be Me” and “Larger Than Life” are added.