On the search for her parents’ message, Beverly learns they loved her all along.
This review of Netflix film Mixtape (2021) does not contain spoilers.
Mixtape is a heartwarming film centring the story of Beverly Moody and is bound to make people nostalgic with mixtapes, records, vinyls and the inevitable Y2K scare. In a pre Y2K scene, Mixtape follows 12 year old Beverly Moody (Gemma Brook Allen) who is trying to learn more about her late teen parents. They passed in a car wreck when she was two and due to this, she grew up with her young grandmother, Gail, who was also a teenage mother.
Mixtape can be seen as an homage to the past and life before social media and technology uprooted everything. It was a lovely watch to see the vinyls, the records and the ‘Napster’ — something I learned about from watching the film. On Beverly’s mission to learn more about her parents, she visits a record store and learns that ‘a mixtape is a message from the maker to the listener’, from Anti. The most enjoyable part of the film is the journey Beverly goes through — from making new friends, realizing she’s enough, and just living life. After all, she’s just a 12-year-old girl desperate to know her parents.
Her grandmother, portrayed by Julie Bowen, is trying to steer her on the right path, which for her is being the first Moody to go to college and to break the cycle of teenage pregnancies in their family and importantly not die like her mother did. But it’s still too painful for her because Gail doesn’t speak much about her daughter, which is understandable, and is kept busy with her job at the post office. Meanwhile, Allen is so adorable and endearing in her portrayal of Beverly, you root for her as you watch the film. She’s unable to speak to her grandmother about her mother, so she goes through the tapes to find the message.
The precocious middle schooler can’t do everything herself and so enlists the help of her new friends, Ellen and Nicky. At first, it was fun learning about her parents through the mixtape until she became more emotional and thought they were just two dumb teenagers who made a mixtape, and maybe they weren’t thinking of her. Fortunately for her, she received a pep talk from Anti about not letting people get to you and making your own life choices. One might think she’s dramatic but she’s just 12 and is determined to learn more about her parents. Eventually, we come to learn that she was looking for acceptance and thought through her parents’ mixtape she might find something. She didn’t think her mother would be friends with her now or whether she actually liked her either.
With a minor rift with her grandmother and establishing a friendship group, Beverly finally lives knowing her parents loved her and learns that as they welcome the year 2000, the world wasn’t ending but beginning.
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