Directed by Amy Poehler
Screen Writers: Tomara Chestna and Dylan Meyer
Adapted from the YA Novel by Jenifer Mathieu
Starring: Amy Poehler, Hadley Robinson, Alycia Pascual-Peña, Lauren Tsai
Vivian is a quiet studious girl who, like the rest of her female school mates is subject to being ranked on a list created by crass high school jocks. Not only do they expect this list, they just ignore the everyday sexism. It’s become commonplace in their school to an alarming degree.
However, this uncomfortable status quo is disrupted by Lucy. Lucy immediately notices this complacency to the sexism and riles against it. It’s Lucy’s fight against this injustice that lights a fire under Vivian. Acting anonymously, influenced by her former punk activist mother and female punk music, she creates Moxie. Moxie is a zine fuelled by the injustice that she leaves all over school. Soon it’s awash with the burning rage of girls who’ve just put up with the sexism and the harassment.
Girls unified against injustice
Moxie is in part a love letter to films life Meangirls and Clueless. Although this is not concerned with pitting girls vs girls. There are nods to acts/ characters in the teenage rebellion films that have come before. In particular, the scene where the girls draw stars and hearts on their hands reminds me of the bra strap protest in Stick It.
Truths and lessons must be learned
However, Moxie is not all smooth sailing, it hits roadblocks. It shows there is always some disappointment even if you’ve done everything you can to rally people to your cause. Vivian starts to escalate matters operating within the anonymity. She is demanding more and asking for more from her friends. Her anger and frustration lash out at everyone around her from her mother to her adorable new boyfriend Seth.
In particular, she lashes out at her best friend Claudia. The films turning point in part comes when Claudia tells Vivian that she can’t fully understand her point of view because Vivan is white. Vivian the central protagonist though she is fighting for change, she sees it only from the point of view of a white privileged position. This honest and frank conversation with Claudia opens her eyes and teaches her a must needed lesson.
Accessible and informative
The film manages to address a broad range of topics from bullying, harassment, racial injustices and rape in a way that is not harmful to the younger audience. It is laid out and displayed with such a fierce sense of optimism and reflection. Moxie will be a film of hope, inspiration and an eye-opener for so many and in my opinion that is what makes it a success.
I am woman hear me roar
When Moxie grows and becomes bigger than Vivian, it becomes blindingly strong. This huge collective scream feels immensely cathartic. Moxie is geared towards a younger audience, but it could have served to be as loud as its final scene much earlier. Moxie is a safe bet, in a way that rebellion shouldn’t necessarily be. That all being said, I left the film feeling hopeful, hopeful that it will help a generation of girls see that they don’t just have to put up with casual sexism/ unwanted attention. That they have a voice they can scream with.
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