Turning Red - 2022

Turning Red - 2022
Movie Info

Rating: PG


Age-appropriateness: inappropriate for young viewers, teenage references and themes, eastern mysticism, and idolizing individualism


Overview: A 13-year-old girl named Meilin turns into a giant red panda whenever she gets too excited.


Themes: expressing emotions, growing up, family, friendship, honoring parents, individualism, adolescence, embarrassment, communication, bullying, self-regulation, trust, integrity, loyalty, growing up, perfectionism, identity

The Quick 3

Ask these quick questions to hit the major themes of the film.

1. Expressing emotions. What types of strong feelings do you experience the most? What's a healthy way to identify and express that emotion?

  • When Meilin has a strong emotion, she turns into a giant red panda. Whether it’s a positive or a negative emotion, she turns into a red panda whenever it’s a strong emotion. She learns she won’t have that consequence if she learns to stay calm - but that’s not always an appropriate emotion to your life experience. It’s not okay to hurt people, but it’s okay to feel whatever you’re feeling: whether that’s a strong feeling of joy, anger, sadness, fear, or any other feeling.

  • Check out this article on How to Talk to Your Kids About Expression Emotions.


2. Honoring your parents. Why do you think it's so important to honor your parents? When it is most difficult to honor them?

  • Meilin says number one rule in her family is “honor your parents”. Exodus 20:12 gives one of the "ten commandments" when it says: "Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you."


3. Individualism. Why is it essential for kids to have rules and boundaries in their life? Do you think it's possible to honor both your parents and yourself?

  • Meilin also says that if you take the rule of “honoring your parents” too far, you might forget to honor yourself. She’s a thirteen year-old and says that she does whatever she wants, whenever she wants to do it. Meilin is strongly encouraging individualism, which is a thought process that says, "do whatever makes you happy" and to express every feeling you ever have. While it's important to be true to yourself, it's still vital to submit your feelings to the commandments of God. God created you and He knows what's best for your life. That means you won't always be able to do whatever you want, whenever you want to do it.

After The Movie Discussion Guide

Follow this 5-10 minute discussion guide to drive an in-depth conversation.

1. When Meilin has a strong emotion, she turns into a giant red panda. Whether it’s a positive or a negative emotion, she turns into a red panda whenever it’s a strong emotion. She learns she won’t have that consequence if she learns to stay calm - but that’s not always an appropriate emotion to your life experience. It’s not okay to hurt people, but it’s okay to feel whatever you’re feeling: whether that’s a strong feeling of joy, anger, sadness, fear, or any other feeling. What types of strong feelings do you experience the most? What's a healthy way to identify and express that emotion?


2. Meilin says number one rule in her family is “honor your parents”. Exodus 20:12 gives one of the "ten commandments" when it says: "Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you." Why do you think it's so important to honor your parents? When it is most difficult to honor them?


3. Meilin also says that if you take the rule of “honoring your parents” too far, you might forget to honor yourself. She’s a thirteen year-old and says that she does whatever she wants, whenever she wants to do it. Meilin is strongly encouraging individualism, which is a thought process that says, "do whatever makes you happy" and to express every feeling you ever have. While it's important to be true to yourself, it's still vital to submit your feelings to the commandments of God. God created you and He knows what's best for your life. That means you won't always be able to do whatever you want, whenever you want to do it. Why is it essential for kids to have rules and boundaries in their life? Do you think it's possible to honor both your parents and yourself?


4. Meilin’s family operates one of the oldest temples in Toronto. But instead of using their temple to honor gods, they honored their ancestors. The Bible very clearly teaches that there is only one, true God and that He alone is to be worshipped. 1 Timothy 2:5 says, "For, There is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus." What questions do you have about other religions and other worldviews? Who - besides God - do you see people worshipping?


5. When Meilin had a strong emotion, she didn’t always feel like she could talk to her parents about what she was feeling. In order to prevent herself from turning into a red panda, she learned to hide her emotions and pretend like everything is okay. How often do you find yourself hiding your feelings? Do you feel like your parents are safe people whom you can share your feelings with?


6. Sometimes at school or with her friends, Meilin was bullied. When have you bullied other kids? How does it feel to get bullied yourself?


7. Mei’s mother was constantly watching her at school to try to keep her daughter safe. Her mom was over-protective because she didn’t trust Mei. Do you ever feel that your parents are over-protective? When do you wish your parents gave you more space and trust?

Minute By Minute Guide

Use this break down of the entire movie in addition to the “After the Movie” discussion guide. Great for repeat viewings.

:06 Meilin admits that no one can really do what they want to do anytime they want to do it. Everyone has responsibilities. Do you agree with Meilin? Why can't you do whatever you want to do, whenever you want to do it?


:14 Mei-Mei draws doodles of one of the band members in 4-Town, which makes her think of Devon, the boy who works at the convenience store. She feels embarrassed when drawing the pictures, and wants to hide them from her mother. When her mom finds out, she confronts Devon at the store, embarrassing Meilin even further. Have you ever had a similar feeling? How do you wish your parents would respond - and what could they do to make you feel safe and supported?


:18 When Meilin first turns into a red panda, her mother assumes it is part of her development. Everyone changes and grows as they get older. In what ways have you noticed yourself changing as you've grown up? Do you enjoy the process of growing up and changing as you mature?


:27 Meilin’s mother tells her the history of her family’s connection to the red panda. One of their ancestors “asked the gods to turn her into a red panda because she loved them so much”. The Red Panda gave her ancestors the ability to harness their emotions and to bring them good fortune. This was a blessing for her ancestors, but Meilin considered it a curse.  Do you see this as more of a blessing or a curse? Why is it so important to be able to harness and control your emotions?


:32 Meilin desperately wanted her situation to go away. She overheard her parents talk about how bad things are, and it makes her really sad and lonely. Her friends showed up and remained present for her, choosing to love her despite her flaws. Job was a man in the Old Testament who had a lot of bad things happen to him. He had some good friends who showed up for him, too. Job 2:13 says, "Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights. No one said a word to Job, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words." Do you have friends who show up for you just to be present and to listen? Why is this so valuable?


:37 Meilin was put to the test by her parents, who wanted to see it she could control her emotions. When she felt too emotional, Mei says she started thinking of those she loves most in the whole world: her friends. What types of things help you regulate your emotions? What can you do to express your emotions in a healthy way?


:45 Mei and her friends really wanted to go to the 4-Town concert. They came up with a really creative way to solve their problem, using the red panda to their advantage. However, they knew they weren’t allowed to go to the concert, so they didn’t have a lot of integrity. Integrity is doing the right thing, even when it’s hard. How often do you show integrity? When is showing integrity particularly difficult?


:54 Meilin’s friends stuck together, saying that if one of them couldn’t go to the concert, none of them should. They were loyal to one another. Loyalty is showing trust and constant support for someone. Who are some of your most loyal friends? What can you do to be even more loyal to the people you love?


1:01 Mei lost control when Tyler insulted her and her family. Instead of taking responsibility for her choices, Mei let her mom blame her friends. Mei’s friends felt betrayed. Why do you think Mei chose to do this? How do you think her friends are feeling in this moment?


1:05 Mei’s father says that “people have all kinds of sides to them. Some sides are messy. The point isn’t to push the bad stuff away. It’s to make room for it, to live with it.” How can you make room for the bad feelings in your life? How can you go on living with some of the messy parts of life?


1:12 Mei acknowledges that she’s been so obsessed with her mom’s approval that she couldn’t imagine losing it. She apologizes to her friends for hurting them. Do you ever feel obsessed for someone else's approval? Why do you think you feel that way?


1:22 Mei meets a younger version of her mom, who feels like she needs to be perfect and like she’ll never be good enough for anyone. Mei informs her that’s simply not true. Do you ever feel the need to be perfect? Do you ever feel like you'll never be good enough?