Mixtape Movie Review: Netflix’s Teen Drama Is A Nostalgic Festival That Will Touch Your Heart | Hollywood
An opening film with Donna Lewis’ I Love You Always Forever and fireworks in the night sky might seem a bit clichÃ©, but it turns out to be the perfect prologue for Netflix’s teen drama, Mixtape. The film is a refreshing addition to the genre as it tells the story of 12-year-old orphan Beverly Moody, played by the jolly Gemma Brooke Allen, and her grandmother Gail Moody, played by Modern Family star Julie Bowen. .
Interestingly, the two bravest characters in the film – Beverly’s parents, who died when she was just two years old – feature throughout, in the form of old photographs, diary entries, and a mixtape. The film, while it contains some emotionally heavy moments, is far from a festival of sobs. There are no unnecessary flashbacks of happy childhood memories shown in black and white. That leaves plenty of room for Beverly’s journey from curious teenager to part of a girl group.
Beverly’s only mission in life is to find out all about her parents, which takes a bold turn when she stumbles upon a broken tape, a mixtape. Firmly believing that the mixtape is actually a message from her parents, she converts it into a blueprint for how they lived their lives. Beverly befriends school “bad guy” (Olga Petsa), “enthusiastic” neighbor (Audrey Hsieh) and witty record store owner (Nick Thune) to recreate the past and relive the intrepid escapades of his parents.
Gemma Brooke Allen is endearing as the big-eyed Beverly, who is caught between being the “right girl” and her unwavering sense of adventure. Gemma is convincing enough in her transformation from a bullied child to taking root as a new school mascot and being called into the principal’s office for her rebellious ways.
We really wish Julie Bowen had more to express as Grandma Gail, who is lifestyle hardened and only does business. All she talks about is the Beverly flu and 2000 millennium virus shots, and allows her to have friends who are fully vaccinated and do well in school. Gail and Beverly, despite living under one roof, have a glaring disconnect, something the film intends to make us uncomfortable with from the start – Beverly has a million questions about her deceased parents while that Gail has mastered the art of not looking back.
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It is only in the final segments of the film that Gail has a heart-to-heart with Beverly, describing her parents as “handsome idiots.” A beautiful moment indeed.
Directed by Valerie Weiss, Mixtape is aimed at a young audience as well as an adult audience. It’s a ride back into the nostalgia of real ’90s blue kids with items like stereo cassette players, chewing gum, evening bike rides and more. Mixtape’s songs – Surrender from Cheap Trick, Teacher’s Pet from The Quick, Getting Nowhere Fast from Girls At Our Best, Linda Linda from Blue Hearts, Better Things from The Kinks, I Got a Right by The Stooges – also transport viewers to the weather.
The mixtape, which will make you cry and hurt, laugh and smile, ends with the statement, “You could be wrong, but nothing’s wrong with you” and a closure for Beverly Moody, the one she was looking for in this tape.
Director: Valerie Weiss
To throw: Gemma Brooke Allen, Julie Bowen, Nick Thune, Jackson Rathbone, Olga Petsa, Audrey Hsieh