The Mistle-Tones

Movie review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
The Mistle-Tones Movie Poster Image
Festive music accents sweet story that has bullying themes.
  • NR
  • 2012
  • 90 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Viewers see Holly use a disappointing experience as motivation for charting a course that's fulfilling and doesn't sacrifice her values. The elitist, controlling behavior of her social nemesis is easy to spot and serves to illustrate its negative effects on everyone involved. There are examples of forgiveness and the choice to rise above the social tug-of-war. On the other hand, Holly's threat to post an unwelcome video of her boss if he doesn't do what she asks raises issues about the misuse of social media.

Positive Role Models

Holly sings because she loves it, as opposed to Marcy, who uses her position as a status marker and a point of control over her friends. The diversity within her underdog group proves that Holly looks past people's appearances to their personalities. A number of characters experience a change of heart for the better, all in line with the spirit of sharing.


A couple kisses under the mistletoe and on one another occasion. Briefly, an all-male singing group sheds their shirts to flex and thrust pertinent body parts while they perform onstage.


A woman's angry tirade includes "hell," "damn," "ass," and "son of a ...". Also "be-yatch," "shut up," "screwed," "idiot," and "crap."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink wine and beer at home and in a bar. At an office party, someone is shown spiking the punch with a bottle of rum.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Mistle-Tones is a sweet holiday story with themes like coping with disappointment, being comfortable with yourself, and seeing past appearances. Tia Mowry is great as a talented but overlooked singer hoping to follow in her mother's footsteps, and viewers of all ages will relate to her struggles with a "mean girl" bully who gets her kicks from controlling others. Expect a couple of bursts of salty language ("ass," "hell," "damn," and "be-yatch") and some suggestive dance moves from an all-male singing group, but these brief moments are all but forgotten in light of the movie's festive music and sweet story that celebrates relationships of all shapes and sizes.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byKelly W. November 22, 2017

Cute movie

Very cute movie, but not for kids that don't believe. "I was going to say, you're a little old to believe in Santa"..ugh. My 9 yr old questi... Continue reading
Parent of a 5, 9, and 10-year-old Written byGuineaPigster November 11, 2013

Disappointed by messages.

I think this movie needs to fix their ''Tones''.
I got partway through the movie, but decided to stop it when I saw someone telling another... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bydony1281 December 8, 2017

Lots of inappropriate words

Uses words like B*ch and hell. In one scene there is a guy who is singing karaoke at a pub and some women do very suggestive dances with him. I would not be c... Continue reading

What's the story?

In THE MISTLE-TONES, Holly (Tia Mowry) has long dreamed of landing a spot in her town's premiere vocal group, The Snow Belles, which her mother created years ago. But when she's passed over by the group's snooty leader, Marcy (Tori Spelling), for a lesser talent, Holly takes the fight to the Belles, challenging them to a sing-off for a coveted performance at a well-known Christmas Eve event. She gathers some unlikely talent and races the clock to get them ready in time for the audition, but when the fateful day arrives, Holly finds that the lessons it holds about the spirit of the holiday are more fulfilling than any singing gig could ever be.

Is it any good?

This is a festive holiday story that makes great use of Mowry's considerable vocal talents without allowing the plot to be driven by the music alone. Even though The Mistle-Tones centers on vying singing groups, and much of the story is either set to background music or centers on the cast's multiple performances, these moments complement what's already a well-rounded story about ambition, adaptability, friendship, and forgiveness. Mix in a fairly sappy romance, some poignant tears shared over memories of Christmases past, and some great new renditions of classic Christmas tunes, and this movie should jump a few spaces up your holiday watch list.

If any performance could vie with Mowry's, it's got to be Spelling's take on the self-absorbed, elitist captain of The Snow Belles. She's uncannily believable in the role, taking pleasure in taunting friends and foes alike and resting on her vanity and her status within the town to coerce conformity among her clique. It's not easy to miss the messages the movie's sending by way of Marcy's actions -- especially when they stand in such sharp contrast to Holly's kinder nature -- so this makes for a great conversation starter with kids about popularity and peer pressure.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about popularity. How is popularity determined among your peers? Are there obvious leaders? How do they respond to their social standing? How much of a concern is popularity to you? To your friends?

  • How do the characters' actions in The Mistle-Tones reflect their values? What role do a person's family relationships play in their behavior toward others? How do you see that illustrated by the characters?

  • Holly finds that sharing a love of music opens her up to some surprising friendships. What shared interests have led you to relationships you otherwise might not have found? Which of your friends is most different from you? How does this diversity benefit your relationship?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love holidays

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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