‘Turning Red’ And Writing That Is “Too Personal”

by Frank Martin

Last year’s Pixar film Turning Red drew a lot of polarizing reactions upon its release. But regardless whether people praised or criticized its handling of sensitive subjects, it was very clear from the start of the film that the writer placed a fair amount of herself in the main character. There’s nothing inherently wrong in doing that. In fact, it’s a great way to make a story real and personal. But there comes a point when it could be too much. The character was so specifically contrived that it was obvious the writer was pretty much writing an autobiography for the entire first act.

This is in contrast to The CW’s horror anthology Two Sentence Horror Stories. This show — and the second season specifically — utilize a large background of writers to develop stories that feature a wide variety of cultures, ethnicities, and families. It’s clear in each episode that the writers have a personal connection to the subject material, but the nature of their connection was not overt. Instead, it was masked through the plot and characters, making it clear that these were original works rather than simply a template they used to insert themselves into.

Of course, Turning Red isn’t a complete autobiography. That would be impossible considering it is about a girl who turns into a red panda. Still, the film’s opening could have benefited from putting a few more fictional elements into the main character’s life. Instead, the pacing comes across fairly formulaic as the writer is merely writing about themselves. This is in contrast to some of Horror Stories‘ episodes, which still obviously had an agenda; granted, one that became unique and separate from the writers’ personal lives.

Turning Red is now streaming on Disney+ and Two Sentence Horror Stories is now streaming on Netflix.

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