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Netflix has newly released a family-friendly film that is sure to become an ultimate classic in the future. Through its quirky and rather sweet undertones, ‘Mixtape’ creates a world of fun and beautiful story through the characters and musically energizes the audience into an experience that makes this film utterly incredible. These days, quirky films tend to be a hit or miss in the realm of true enjoyment; but in the case of ‘Mixtape’, this film is certainly a home run.
‘Mixtape’ – Dancing In The Moonlight
Directed by Valerie Weiss, ‘Mixtape’ follows a more innocent and different take on what has usually been seen in Weiss’ work before, with such projects as directing an episode of ‘Why Women Kill’ and a few episodes of ‘Outer Banks’; which, comparably, are more adult than what we see in this film. Regardless, Weiss works with the writer, Stacey Menear, to create this colorful and music-filled world that anyone of any age will enjoy.
Set in 1999, Beverly, a young orphaned girl, accidentally destroys a mixtape her mother made before her death; and, thus, she sets out on a journey to track down the obscure songs on the cassette. Along the way, Beverly makes friends and forms a brand new lifestyle that feels truly unique and forming to her. And, with the help of her friends in aiding her in finding these songs, Beverly learns along the way of who her parents were and how life can be worthwhile when you’re making memories with the right people.
Let’s begin this review off by simply saying how relaxing and thrilling this film is to watch. The overall kind, and rock n’ roll, atmosphere is impeccable, and it really is such a breath of fresh air to see. It’s definitely a watch for when you’ve had a hard day and just want to sit down and watch something with a story so simple yet still so interesting. This mainly feels due to the personality of each character, and the dynamics between them working so charmingly that you can’t help but smile whenever you’re watching them talk; along with the dance scenes making you want to jump out of your bed or couch and dance right with them.
It’s also worth mentioning how each of the scenes builds off of one another so beautifully that the story feels so coherent and easy to follow, whether or not you’re paying full attention. Because of this, ‘Mixtape’ feels like a best friend that you’re spending time with; someone you can just relax around without having to give all your mental energy away. This is absolutely a nice break, especially if you’re an avid film-lover and have spent hours on end attempting to decipher what happened in whatever you just saw, allowing you to take a moment to experience a fun and simple journey with a cast of characters in under two hours.
Behind The Cassette Tape
In terms of technicalities, this film has beautiful cinematography that fits the sweet and quirky atmosphere. The Steadicam and conventional wide shots were so simple, which connected perfectly into the film like a puzzle piece that satisfactorily fits. The color scheme and set design go hand-in-hand with these shots as well, the iconic and nostalgic 1999-feel being fully emulated. It also goes to say that these conventional shots wouldn’t have fit so well if it wasn’t coupled with the fantastic performances by the actors.
The characters within ‘Mixtape’ have such unique personalities from one another, and each of them is developed beautifully throughout the story in their own ways. The actors portray these quirky personalities for each of their characters in such a way that it would be so hard to picture them being played by anybody else; which overall truly makes this another reason as to how fantastic these performances are. The element especially goes for the performance of the character to which this entire story focuses its view on: Beverly.
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Played by Gemma Brooke Allen, this performance of Beverly is what pieces together the film into a magnificent little bow of quirkiness. Beverly brings out the heart and sweet tone of the film through the conversations and journeys that she has with the other characters; these actors benefit from showing their acting chops while working alongside Allen to create the charming world of ‘Mixtape’. However, the actor that rings true specifically, in this case, is Julie Bowen (who plays Gail, Beverly’s grandmother). Allen and Bowen play off of each other nicely to where it feels like there’s an actual nurturing and maternal bond between the two. As someone who was rather close with their grandmother, this part of the film really brought my enjoyment meter of it further up as the film progressed and more about their relationship was uncovered.
This also isn’t to say that the actors who played Beverly’s friends, Ellen (played by Audrey Hsieh) and Nicky (played by Olga Petsa), didn’t have as much of a heart-warming effect. In fact, this part of the film is what was the icing on the cake. Friendships are important, and it’s endearing and heartfelt to see Beverly being able to make friends while on her journey of finding remnants to piece together of who her parents were.
Have A Good Night, Ladies And Gentlemen
‘Mixtape’ is a wonderful example of a quirky film and how it can be a light in someone’s potentially dark day, and soon leads us to think about the film in the back of our minds as we go about our life; loving the time we spent with the characters and how we had such a sweet and short journey together in merely under two hours. The subtle fear of Y2K looming in the air on ‘Mixtape’ doesn’t seem to deviate from what ultimately matters at that specific moment in time: going on a journey that matters, despite whether or not the world will be ending that very month or even that week. Beverly leads her best life as a young twelve-year-old girl, and she’s determined to be true to herself and strive to figure out elements of her life that had previously been lost in time.
You will absolutely find a reason to dance and find happiness in the smallest of things within quirky films; generally bringing you a sense of comfort and relaxation. It doesn’t matter what age or gender you are; you will absolutely find peace and relatability in the world of these unique films. And, in the end, ‘Mixtape’ is a fine example of this possible niche element of Cinema.
By Leah Donato
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