Mixtape Parent Guide
The soundtrack is the emotional heart of the film so viewers without a broad familiarity with music will miss out.
Parent Movie Review
Raised by her devoted but brisk grandmother (Julia Bowen), Beverly Moody (Gemma Brooke Allen) wishes she knew the parents who died when she was a toddler. When she finds one of their old mixtapes in the attic, the 12 year old is thrilled to finally get a sense of who they were. After a Walkman chews up the cassette tape, Bev goes on a mission to recreate the playlist. But this is 1999 and iTunes and Spotify are still in the future, meaning that Bev is going to need the help of the local record store owner (Nick Thune), a friend (Audrey Hsieh) who is familiar with Napster, and some old fashioned moxie to find all the songs.
The songs Bev is looking for are an eclectic mix, and you will enjoy this movie a lot more if you are familiar with a broad range of 70s and 80s music. If you’re not, you’ll miss much of the movie’s emotional heart, which is exactly what happened to me. Despite its best efforts, Mixtape left me cold, but I’m willing to believe that fans of the soundtrack will find the movie a much more rewarding experience.
The movie’s fundamentals are fine. The story is heartfelt – a young teen goes on a quest to learn more about her parents in the hopes that she’ll discover common ground. In the process, she makes new friends, develops greater confidence and a sense of self, and finds the strength to stand up to bullies. Her journey brings her closer not only to her late parents but also to her grandmother, who learns to face her grief and appreciate her granddaughter. This film is a warm tribute to families, parenting, generational ties, and the strength of female friendship. Production quality is also acceptable, with good performances from the adults and average ones from the teens: they aren’t standouts but they aren’t disasters either.
Despite the positive messages about families, parents will want to think twice about watching this movie with younger teens. It’s true that negative content is relatively minor: there’s a smattering of mild profanities, some verbal bullying, and a sibling fight (where, oddly enough, the dad sets the ground rules). The bigger issue will be reckless behavior on the part of Bev and her friends. They are constantly sneaking around, lying to parents about what they are doing. In an incredibly risky move, they sneak out at night, having browbeaten an adult man into driving them to a nightclub to hear a live show. He lies about their ages, and they attend the performance. This is definitely not something most parents want their middle schoolers to see as aspirational teen behavior.
Mixtape isn’t award-winning cinema but it provides a touching story about an appealing protagonist on a relatable quest. It gives viewers a reassuring message about the power of music to touch our hearts and bind people together. That’s a melody that’s worth hearing in any key.Directed by Valerie Weiss. Starring Gemma Brooke Allen, Julie Bowen, Nick Thune, Audrey Hsieh. Running time: 93 minutes. Theatrical release December 3, 2021. Updated December 4, 2021
Watch the trailer for Mixtape
Rating & Content Info
Why is Mixtape rated TV-PG? Mixtape is rated TV-PG by the MPAA for language
Violence: Teens verbally bully each other at school. Siblings have a fight that involves hitting and grappling. A student vandalizes a wheelchair. A man grabs another man and forces an apology.
Sexual Content: Girls talk briefly about tampons. There are several mentions of teen pregnancy, all non-judgmental and some celebratory.
Profanity: There are a couple of minor curses and terms of deity. A slang term for breasts is used.
Alcohol / Drug Use: None noted.
Page last updated December 4, 2021
Mixtape Parents' Guide
If you were to make a mixtape, what songs would be important to you? What messages would people hear in your mixtape? With whom would you share it? Would you be interested in hearing mixtapes from any of your family members?
Do you want to know more about your family tree? Who can you ask for information or family stories? There are several great family history resources online, including the following websites that help you organize family information and search for ancestors.
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