Mixtape (2021) Review: Valerie Weiss’s Pre-Holiday Flick is Upbeat and Feel Good

Mixtape is a family drama movie directed by Valerie Weiss. The screenplay is done by Stacey Menear and Alice Wu. With a running time of 1 hour 37 minutes, the film features Julie Bowen as Gail, Gemma Brooke Allen as Beverly Moody, Nick Thune as Anti, Jackson Rathbone as Wes, Olga Petsa as Nicky and others. This USA drama film has English audio with English subtitles available for the viewer.

The synopsis of Mixtape on Netflix reads as follows: In 1999, 12-year-old Beverly discovers a broken mixtape made by her late parents. She sets out to find the songs — and learn more about her mom and dad.

The film is set pre Y2K, in the year 1999. We get to meet Beverly Moody, a parentless 12-year-old who lives with her grandmother Gail (played by Julie Bowen). She is “a good kid” enrolled in a regular USA public school. She often gets bullied but does not pay much attention to it. Her life, in other words, is quite “normal”. From the beginning of the film, the director has used apt background scores to perfectly complement the clips being shown. 

– Mixtape review does not contain any spoilers –

The film begins with bright and loud shots of fireworks being set out, thus setting the mood of the film. The character Beverly in Mixtape movie is the kind of student who often gets overlooked in school. She does not mind being invisible. We are also introduced to Nicky, Beverly’s classmate who is quite obviously into punk. The film quite wonderfully portrays various relationship dynamics across the spectrum– between a grandmother and her grandchild, between cultures and between stereotypes. We also get to experience the agony of loss – loss of control and loss of a very loved one and the consequences of that loss on the self. Mixtape also addresses the intergenerational aspect of trauma and loss.

Mixtape review
Mixtape review

The film narrates a journey to self-discovery, especially when you have no one to guide you through that process. Beverly’s parents are dead but she is alive and she is willing to do anything and talk to anyone to find out more about her parents. Her relationship with her grandmother is handled very gracefully. Most of the incidents of the film are centred around one particular event– Beverly coming across an old mixtape left by her mother.

However, the tape itself is damaged and she must find all the tracks on the mixtape and listen to them in order. “A mixtape is a message from the maker to the listener,” says the owner of a failing record store  (played by Nick Thune) who Beverly approaches to help her find the songs. 

The film almost feels like a tribute to the pre-Y2K era, with references to songs that are no longer in the loop anymore. To name a few we have More Than This by Roxy Music, Better Things by The Kinks, Smile by Vitamin C and many more. Thankfully, Mixtape, in spite of being an emotional watch, is not overly melodramatic or cliched. It hits the right balance between being a film about love and subsequently a film about loss. 

Mixtape review
Mixtape review

Summing up, Mixtape

Mixtape can be summed up as a feel-good and happy pre-holiday watch. It is not heavy and is suitable for audiences across ages. Although the film lacks in creating some intense moments, it does succeed in getting its point across. If you are looking for an emotionally light and fun watch, then do give this film a fair try.

Mixtape is now streaming on Netflix.

Also Read: Chithirai Sevvaanam (2021) Review: Silva’s Film Fails to Deliver a Compelling Narrative

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REVIEW OVERVIEW

Overall

SUMMARY

Mixtape is an upbeat feel-good pre-holiday watch, albeit without any intense or too emotional moments.

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