Beverly (Gemma Brooke Allen) lives with her grandmother Gail (Julie Bowen), as her parents died when she – and they – were very young. Gail rarely talks about them and Beverly never really knew them, so when she finds some of their stuff, it’s like a gift. She discovers a mixtape with songs that were meaningful to her parents among the stuff, but unfortunately, the tape gets eaten. So she sets out to find the songs with the help of her new-found friends Ellen (Audrey Hsieh) and Nicky (Olga Petsa), as well as grumpy record store owner Anti (Nick Thune).
Mixtape is a cute film that doesn’t hide big surprises, but executes its story well enough – and thankfully with a good soundtrack.
Mixtape hits the usual notes of a coming-of-age story, although the setting is not that usual – we actually haven’t seen that much 90s nostalgia yet – and the focus on Beverly and her friends and their discovery of girlband punk is also not something we get to see everyday. And I liked both.
Even though the characters are kept rather simple, the developing relationships between Beverly, Nicky and Ellen are really cute to watch. The really emotional stuff happens between Beverly and Gail, though, and made me wish that the film spent a little more time on the and their grief that they just haven’t really accepted yet.
But despite the heavy, big topics lurking in the background of the film, it isn’t really interested in exploring those. It keeps things light instead. Fair enough. Especially since it does the light-hearted stuff well. Still, I do think that it would have had more power if it also looked at the heavier stuff a little more.
In short, Mixtape is a sweet film that is wonderful entertainment for an evening, although it probably won’t burrow itself deep into your memory or heart.