Review: Mixtape, a total delight

Gemma Brooke Allen in Mixtape

Mixtape takes us back to days right before Y2K threatened to upend everything. A young teen girl wants to get to know her parents by hearing every song on a mixtape she finds. When she tries to play the tape, it breaks. This charming film is on Netflix.

Gemma Brooke Allen, Olga Petsa, and Audrey Hsieh in Mixtape

Mixtape stars Gemma Brooke Allen as Beverly, the teen. Beverly and her friends Ellen (Audrey Hsieh) and Nicky (Olga Petsa) are spot on perfect in their roles. They make the film come alive with their youthful enthusiasm and angst.

Beverly’s parents died in a car crash when Beverly was two. Her mother was only 17 at the time.

Gemma Brooke Allen and Julie Bowen in Mixtape

Beverly lives with her grandmother, Gail (Julie Bowen), who was a very young mother herself. Gail works double and triple shifts at the post office to save money for Beverly’s college fund. Gail is determined that Beverly won’t continue the family tradition of having a child at a very young age.

Beverly is curious about her parents, and her grandmother is too busy to talk about them much. When Beverly finds the old mixtape, she’s sure that there’s a message for her there if she can only listen to the songs.

She goes to the record store owned by Anti (Nick Thune). She gives him the song list and asks him to help her find and listen to the songs. This is a long process involving many trips. Not all the songs are clearly labeled so there’s some discovering to do.

Anti and Beverly form a strange friendship. He is a musician himself and knows a lot about the music on the tape.

Julie Bowen and Nick Thune in Mixtape
Let’s celebrate Y2K because tomorrow the world may stop

Gail eventually meets Anti because she goes to investigate the receipts from his record shop she finds in Beverly’s pants pockets. Anti helps Gail realize that Beverly needs some answers and information about her parents. She tries to give more attention to her granddaughter after that.

The film was directed by Valerie Weiss and written by Stacey Menear. It’s predictable and uses stereotypes for some characters. Even so, it’s cute and fun and wonderfully affirming. Spoiler alert: the world didn’t stop on Y2K.

If you take a look at this one, let me know if it charmed you as much as it did me.

2 thoughts on “Review: Mixtape, a total delight”

  1. Sweet Virginia!
    LOVE your reviews, and I think you are spot on! My sweetheart & I watched this and thoroughly enjoyed it — and shed a few tears at the ending. The music serves as an additional character, and was extremely well chosen–angsty without being overly bellicose, emotional without being terribly depressing–it really does a good job of illustrating for Beverly what her parents thought was important. And the FINAL song was so perfect!!!
    Women/girls in the principle roles, conversations that sound/feel REAL (the hike up the cemetery hill whilst discussing menstruation was EXCELLENT), and male characters who aren’t skeevy, exploitative, or clueless (by and large). Is it “great art” — probably not. Is it an enjoyable film that might spark needed family conversation — YES!!

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