Directed and produced by actress Amy Poehler, Moxie is a fun and fresh feminist movie that offers a lot of inspiration to its target audience.
Written by Becca Johnson
Moxie, a new teen comedy based on Jennifer Matthieu's novel of the same name, tells the story of a girl named Vivian who anonymously publishes a zine calling out the sexism she has witnessed in her high school. The zine attracts lots of attention from her school friends, who quickly band together to form an empowering and rebellious group who want to shed light and change their school for the better.
Moxie doesn't boast ground-breaking acting, but the performances are definitely believable and admirable considering many of the cast are giving first-time performances. Hadley Robinson was great as the lead, playing a shy introverted character who learns to come out of her shell. Alycia Pascual-Pena was also notable as new girl Lucy, who inspires her classmates to stand up against the norms and gives them the confidence to speak up and make a difference. Amy Poehler gave a fine performance as lead Vivian's Mother, but she definitely didn't have enough screen-time. The movie teaches us that she was a rebellious individual when she was at school, which makes her daughter wish to follow in her footsteps, but unfortunately the audience learn very little of her past.
Moxie definitely doesn't take the subtle approach with its message, and is very clear about what its trying to say from start to finish, but this works in the movies favour. It covers very important topics that most females can relate to, from being asked to cover up at school when your outfit isn't the least bit provocative to not being favoured as highly as men in the sporting world. It also tackles race, transphobia, sexual harassment and pressure to perform well in school, highlighting experiences that many young adults go through and face daily. At times, it feels like Moxie may be trying to cover too much as there is some underdevelopment present, yet at the same time it packs a punch and manages to empower its audience without being harrowing or difficult to digest.
At times, the script can be cringe-worthy and full of jargon that is representative of how adults think teens speak, and not so much how they actually do speak. Though this is often the case with movies made for a young adult audience, its not easy to forgive and sometimes takes away from the message of the movie. Moxie could have also benefited from showing some comeuppance for the characters that did awful things, as this is only briefly touched upon and could've been powerful with a touch more development. However, it was clearly aiming for a light-hearted approach which definitely came across, aided by the upbeat punk soundtrack and humour filtered throughout the script.
Moxie doesn't have anything new to say about racism, sexism or transphobia. However, its a fun and touching movie that you can't help but smile through for the entire duration of the run-time. It can be occasionally cringe-worthy, but most of the time its witty, funny and empowering, and the target audience will undoubtedly take something away from it. It managed to get its message across in a digestible way that also packs an emotional punch, and for a movie based on a young adult novel, this is easily one of the better ones.