The Mistle-Tones

 
(i)

 

Festive music accents sweet story that has bullying themes.

What parents need to know

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.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex

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.

Language

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

Consumerism
Not applicable
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.

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.

What's the story?

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?

QUALITY
 

THE MISTLE-TONES 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 movie 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.

Families can talk 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 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?

This review of The Mistle-Tones was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Educator and Parent Written byActs1631 March 28, 2013
 

A bit more cursing than I like my girls to hear

What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
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 woman ''You can't that! You have to FIT in the costume.'' They have nice voices, but I was highly disappointed by how it communicated body messages. As a kid-lover, I am always searching for movies that not only are deemed ''appropriate'', but also don't create negative messages about dieting, body image, and stereotypes. This movie doesn't fall under my guidelines.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 11 years old November 29, 2014
 

Great

This movie is really good. This movie has positive messages, and great role models. Although, there are a few bad words that little kids shouldn't learn till they are older. There are some topics that kids may not understand, like why is the mom not in the movie. Overall, This movie is a great choice for family night on a Christmas Day.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much swearing

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