Moxie - Film Review


Directed by: #AmyPoehler

Written by: #JenniferMathieu, #TamaraChestna & #DylanMeyer

Starring: #HadleyRobinson, #LaurenTsai, #AlyciaPascualPena, #SydneyPark, #NicoHiraga

Netflix Film Review by Taryll Baker

Poster for Moxie

Fed up with the sexist and toxic status quo at her high school, a shy 16-year-old finds inspiration from her mother's rebellious past and anonymously publishes a zine that sparks a school-wide, coming-of-rage revolution.

We’re in a very significant time of our lives right now. We are living what will become history; important history. Women are banding together to push for equal rights, to not be objectified, harassed, or just simply ignored or pushed aside. This isn’t something new, people have been fighting this for many years, but it seems like we are at a boiling point in this climate, alongside other important movements. Some might say these are “woke” times; whether or not you agree with that, it’s undeniably time for change. Netflix’s Moxie is giving their subscribers something to chew on.

The opening, which shows a panicked Vivian (Hadley Robinson) screaming — inaudibly — in a bad dream solidly sets up the unfortunate reality of women being unheard; which is the seed that blossoms into a great culmination of women’s worth in this comedy drama from Amy Poehler. Moxie, based upon the novel of the same name, tells the story of 16-year-old Vivian as she begins distributing her own magazine, leaving them in bathrooms, slowly kickstarting a revolution in her school. Though it may seem to some like all problems are rolled into one convenient place for a narrative advantage, I would disagree. I think a lot of the issues shown in this film are a direct reflection of reality and though perhaps dramatised to a heightened level, it’s vital. This is undoubtedly a message piece, something to initiate further discussion and it does its job well.

The cast are fantastic. Hadley’s performance as Vivian is well-focused, she draws from the actors around her in every scene, and uses that energy to amplify her character portrayal. Supported by talent such as Sydney Park, Lauren Tsai and Alycia Pascual-Pena; this is a gathering of wonderful charismatic people and the on-screen chemistry is very real. Amy Poehler’s direction is very subtle; I couldn’t find her unique style in this but that’s more than likely due to her not having written the film alongside this. I’d say the only downside of Moxie is that it almost blends in with other stories with a school setting; the harsh atmosphere with a playful tone scattered in, annoying side characters, the list can go on. But Moxie shines when it focuses on the message it’s trying to deliver and the smaller character moments especially.

The film comes to its end with quite a nice touch, and without spoiling anything; the once inaudible screams ring out loud and clear. a lingering shot on Vivian, with the stepping stone she laid down now firmly on the ground. Moxie isn’t going to be the one single thing that sparks a revolution like within the film, instead, it’s just one part of the bigger goal. It delivers an uplifting and thought-provoking story, and though not perfect — with a stumbling pace at times, it entertains whilst triggering a conversation that I hope continues to flourish.

Moxie is now streaming on Netflix.