Moxie

Review of Netflix feministic youth movie about toxic masculinity in high school, ‘Moxie’

September 20, 2021 Mario Bautista 419 views

MOXIE’ is a coming-of-age youth comedy with a teen lead character who is easy to cheer for. This is Vivian (Hadley Robinson), 16, who lives with her mom, Lisa (Amy Poehler, who also wrote and directed the movie). As a student, she just lies low in their class at Rockport High School as the new schoolyear starts.

In their class, they have a new black classmate, Lucy (Alycia Pena). Their teacher, Mr. Davies (Ika Barinholtz), is discussing the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic in class, “The Great Gatsby”, and Lucy puts it down as just another story of a white guy who’s pining for a lost love.

The school’s top athlete, Mitchell (Patrick Schwazenegger), contradicts Lucy and defends the Gatsby character. Later, at the school canteen, Vivian sees the racist Mitchell bullying Lucy, getting her can of soda and spitting in it. Lucy reports Mitchell’s behavior to their principal, Shelly (Marcia Gay Harden), who chooses not to get involved since Mitchell is a very popular jock in their entire school.

Vivian is justifiably turned off. At home, she finds old magazines written by her mom and it inspires her to come up with her own anonymous underground zine called Moxie, which aims to call to attention the brazenly sexist ways that the guys in their school are treating the women.

The guys even made a derogatory list of the women in school and giving them unsavory sexist titles then sending it to everyone’s phones. Moxie aims to empower the women to voice out their own issues against the men and it starts a movement among the females.

Vivian and Lucy become friends and they form a group of other girls who have been maligned by the guys. Vivian also finds romance in an Asian American guy, Seth (Nico Hiraga), who completely supports her cause and her zine.

The school is giving an award to an athlete who’ll get a scholarship for college. The girls rooted for a girl athlete, Kiera (Sydney Park), but it is Mitchell who is chosen as he is supported by Principal Shelly who is very biased with him and does not side at all with the women and their feminist cause.

Vivian organizes the Moxie supporters to stage a rally in front of their school to support of a girl who says she has been raped by a male student. This turns out to be the school’s top cheerleader, Emma (Josephine Langford), notoriously billed as the school’s Most Bangable girl who later reveals that it was Mitchell who raped her.

Everyone in the rally is mortified to hear this and pledges to support her, including Principal Shelly who finally realizes her mistake in backing up the abusive and mysogynistic Mitchell.

“Moxie” offers spirited fun as it tells the story of high school girls who band together and agitate their school’s administration to combat toxic masculinity and sexism in their oppressive school environment. Vivian is very lucky to have a very supportive mom who backs her up all the way.

Ironically, her best friend, Claudia (Lauren Tsai), who is half Chinese, has a mom who is not at all supportive. Claudia herself tells Vivian: “You don’t get what’s going on with me because you’re white.”

We somehow wish this bit of a subplot could have been explored further but then that would be about racism and this movie is more about sexism. So maybe, another movie can delve on the social justice issues experienced by people of color in an American setting.

AUTHOR PROFILE