Mixtape Review: Teen Drama Wrapped in 80s Edgy Music


In 1999, a teenager named Beverly (Gemma Brooke Allen) went through her routine without her parents who died, from being driven to school by her grandmother (Julie Bowen) to being bullied by some of her friends. At home, an upset Beverly accidentally kicks a box containing a mixtape left by her late parents.

Unfortunately, the mixtape, entitled “Love Riot”, could not be played because it was damaged. Not giving up, Beverly then went to the music store owned by Anti (Nick Thune). Not to fix the cassette, but to buy a number of physical releases containing the songs on the mixtape. Having refused, Anti finally gave physical releases of several songs on the mixtape in the form of AA cassettes. Beverly is even more excited to find physical releases of the rest of the songs, especially after she believes that each song has a message for her.

Those are a few stories from “The Mixtape” (2021), a teen drama film directed by Valerie Weiss. Through this 97-minute film, the audience will be invited to explore the message in each song on the mixtape left by Beverly’s parents. This film will also show Beverly’s relationship with those closest to her, starting from her two best friends, her grandmother, to Anti the music owner.

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Contains 80’s Underrated Punk Rock and Alternative Songs Played in the 90’s
One of the attractions of “Mixtape” is the repertoire of songs in it. All the songs in this film are punk rock and alternative songs from a number of underrated bands from the 80s, such as The Kinks, The Quick, and The Stooges. The songs are even more interesting because they are played in films set in the 90s with the main character a young woman who is classified as poor. All of these songs have successfully served their dual function in this film, namely as part of the story plot as well as being a moodbooster for the audience.

The plot of the story itself is light and predictable, but still comfortable to follow. Dramatic elements are also added to the story, which is presented properly without becoming melodramatic. This film is not only about deciphering the meaning of each song, but also Beverly’s relationship with those closest to her. Every relationship that Beverly builds with each of the characters is built quite slowly but surely, following the storyline of the film itself.

One of the shortcomings of this film is that the conflict resolution is too simple and seems to make the process of searching for messages on Beverly’s parents mixtape feel futile. Another drawback is the use of Y2K issues, which are just patches and don’t really need to be included in the story script.

The Promising Gemma Brooks Allen
Even though she looks strange when wearing the typical attributes of punk and alternative music, Gemma is still able to portray the character of Beverly who is clumsy, has anxiety about her parents, and has an interest in punk and alternative music. The same thing applies to Audrey Hsieh who plays the figure of Ellen.

Olga Petsa performed well as a supporting role through her role as Nicky. Actually, the character Nicky played by Olga is much more suitable as the main character, because the image of the character fits perfectly with the musical presentation in this film. Unfortunately, this character is only a mere supporting role with quite a strange characterization.

Julie Bowen and Nick Thune also performed well in their respective roles. Julie is able to play Beverly’s grandmother who is serious and protective of Beverly. Meanwhile, Nick is able to bring Anti’s character as a scene stealer in this film through his sarcastic but kind nature.

In terms of cinematography and storytelling, “Mixtape” does not offer anything special and deep, even though it has interesting story ideas. However, this one film is still worth watching, especially for viewers who want a popcorn-movie dish in their spare time. “Mixtape” is now available to watch on Netflix.