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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Cheating might help cheaters a little but in the end honest competitors win. Some people do things just to try to get famous.
Positive Role Models
Mia and Mackie are close and loyal sisters. Avery hogs all the best moves and attention for herself on her team and deliberately games the system in the effort to win. Amber plots to betray Mackie while working for Avery in the effort to undermine Mackie. Mandy is kind and helpful to both her grieving mother and younger sisters.
Violence & Scariness
The girls' dad died two years before the action begins, leaving them and their mother grieving. Amber, a dancer on Mackie's team, falls during practice, pretends to be injured, and quits the team, leaving Mackie scrambling to find a new dancer. Amber then joins rival Avery's team and competes against Mackie.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Young-looking 14-year-old girls wear skimpy costumes and makeup.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that To the Beat! is a generic tale about a dance competition in which 14-year-old girls vie to earn a spot performing in teen idol Chris Trousdale's next music video. The competition is fierce and a little nasty, featuring deliberate cheating, voter payoffs, and low-key psychological warfare. Girls wear skimpy costumes and makeup. The girls' dad died two years before the action begins, leaving them and their mother grieving. Although many of the characters are young teens, this seems designed to appeal to tweens. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This dance movie is oddly unsatisfying. Young viewers may not be able to articulate their disappointment, but they will no doubt sense the way To the Beat! sets up an obvious moral dilemma. Cheating, self-absorbed Avery occupies one end of the dishonesty extreme, paying social media influencers $100 to garner votes for her team. Mia and Mackie are honest competitors trying to win through merit. No spoiler alert is needed as viewers will sense the one-dimensionality of the script and its constant signaling that the good guys will win.
The relationships among characters are confusing. No one will fail to notice that there's no real comeuppance for Avery. She loses the contest, but her cheating is never exposed, her parents don't scold her, and her kindly grandmother isn't shocked to learn of her granddaughter's scheming malevolence. The last part is really odd since without the moral reckoning her kindly grandmother could provide, there's otherwise no need for the grandmother character at all. On the other hand, it's entertaining to watch young dancers go through their routines.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.