Awkwardly, no Pixar film had been solo directed by a female filmmaker until Chinese-Canadian filmmaker Domee Shi came along with this cute-as-buttons creature feature about a 13-year-old girl who turns into a red panda when big emotions come knocking. It’s based on her own childhood – okay, not the panda part – and comes freighted with the authentic growing pains of adolescence. The only pity is that it went straight to Disney+, because its surprisingly Godzilla-esque climax would have looked epic on the big screen.
What we said: ‘Its boldest move is tackling female puberty in such a candid, empathetic way.’
It’s not been your standard, regular, common-or-garden year at the movies so far. The slate of big new movies remains a little (okay, a lot) skinnier than usual and release dates have continued to shift, with more than one big release decamping to the safer surrounds of 2023. But even the lingering impact of Covid hasn’t stopped it being an often crowd-pleasing, occasionally electrifying six months so far. From awards picks like Parallel Mothers and Licorice Pizza, to virtuoso indie gems like British chef thriller Boiling Point, to popcorn perfection like RRR and Top Gun: Maverick, there’s been much to celebrate. Here’s our best of the best of the year to date.