Moxie is a movie about high school teens ages who have a tendency to play reckless games in the name of fun. But Those “dares” which they give each other in the name of the game seem so simple, but they’re not, especially in high school. High school is challenging for girls. However, it’s challenging for boys, too (at least girls aren’t mentioned “girls don’t cry” from the instant they’re born.) Girls, though, have their specific hurdles navigating a conformist world, and that’s the world described in “Moxie,” based on a YA novel by Jennifer Mathieu.
With a gifted young cast, “Moxie” takes its influence from the tumult grrrl period of the ’90s, from Bikini Kill (the bully rock feminist band most connected with riot grrrl), and, most of all, from the riot grrrl ‘zines:self-designed self-created, photo-copied, these ‘zines spread beyond the country.
In “Moxie,” a 21st-century teenage girl named Vivian enkindles raging feminist progress in her high school after exploring a wealth trove of riot grrrl memorabilia in her mother’s abdomen. The movie Directed by Amy Poehler, “Moxie,” is s both an embarrassing act of nostalgia for ’90s activism and an endeavor to push the tumult’s grrrl legacy into the future.
High School Life
High school is high school, no circumstance the era. There are popular kids. Some want to be successful. Some are left out. These dynamics are unusually toxic in the high school in “Moxie,” where rankings are announced on social media every time, rankings like “Best Rack.”
Vivian finds it disturbing but also doesn’t have any knowledge she could push back. Her cluelessness is stimulated when a new girl named Lucy makes waves by examining the summer reading list and then rising to the menacing cocky football-player tormentor, Mitchell Wilson.
When Lucy describes Mitchell’s harassment to the administrator (a soothing-voiced Marcia Gay Harden), the principal suggests Lucy not to say the word “attacked” and suck it up and neglect him. Fundamentally, “boys will be boys.” Vivian and her best buddy
Claudia (Lauren Tsai) is no “trouble-makers” like this. However, something about Lucy’s fearlessness encourages Vivian.
Vivian’s mother (Amy Poehler) is one of the coolest mothers known (although not like the fantastic “cool mom” Poehler performed in “Mean Girls”), and one night Vivian sees her mother’s punk-rock past. It’s the ‘zines that grab Vivian’s attentiveness. She decides to place out her own, and she calls it “Moxie.”
The zine, exclaiming out the boorish behavior of boys and the sexist administration, instantly makes waves. Vivian doesn’t take possession of Moxie. Anonymity is the fundamental rule.
Gather The Girls
Girls gather together, essentially by osmosis. There’s Lucy, fired up by the opportunities of extending her protest. Amaya (Anjelika Washington) and Kiera (Sydney Park), two talented athletes, incensed that their championship soccer unit doesn’t get as much help as the lack-luster boys’ soccer team.
There’s Kaitlynn (Sabrina Haskett), a girl being punished for wearing a tank top. There’s CJ (Josie Totah), a trans girl bothered that she’s not authorized to audition for Audrey’s role in Little Shop of Horrors. The movement cleans the school and creates a rift between Vivian and her rule-following best friend, Claudia.
Tamara Chestna and Dylan Meyer modified Mathieu’s book for the screen, and the dialogue tries to do too much on season, as evidenced by the film’s somewhat bloated run-time.
The struggles to make the feminism of “Moxie” intersectional is well-meaning (and necessary). However, it points to some accidental tokenism in the execution. Nineties tumult grrrl was reprimanded for not being comprehensive enough, something Poehler’s character reveals, and so “Moxie” is a sometimes-awkwardly tries to attempt a correct-course.
There are failures, though. Lucy, so central to the film’s early strings, takes a backseat, at least in terms of screen time, once the campaign is up and running.
“Moxie” doesn’t have the sarcastic bite of, say, “Mean Girls,” nor does it have especially punk rock energy. However, Poehler does a commendable job keeping things moving. Boys aren’t left out, unless. A kid is called Seth (Nico Hiraga: you probably recognize him from “Booksmart”) is a shy partner of the Moxie movement.
The love that blossoms between Seth and Vivian are very sweet. However, it has its nuances, too. At one point, Vivian, hyped-up on feminist abuse, includes him in her generalized commentary, even though he hasn’t done anything illegal. This is very insightful! Hiraga is very straightforward to be a young romantic lead.
The soundtrack is controlled by Bikini Kill, particularly “Rebel Girl,” also included in the film by the teenage collection The Linda Lindas. Kathleen Hana, the lead singer of Bikini Kill, is regarded by many as the avatar of riot grrrl, although Hanna would be the beginning to say she was no leader.
Mainstream media shied apart from the radical feminist poetry of bands like Bikini Kill. They mostly described “riot grrrl” as a fashion choice, all those chemical barrettes, baby-doll nighties, etc. Not everyone was on board. Courtney Love, for example, principal singer of Hole, was often looped into riot grrrl by the media platform, who only saw her wardrobe.
Love checked against this, making public announcements about her disagreements; With the movement’s middle-class concerns: “Who told them it was their positive American right not to be offended?” Today, one needs only look to Russia; To the oppressed protest collective Pussy Riot, to see that the riot grill service is alive and well.
There have been many publications and documentaries about the riot grrrl scene. However, so far, it hasn’t made any significant inroads into feature film stories. There are a few exemptions. 2014’s “Kelly & Cal” stars Juliette Lewis as an ex-punk-rocker, now pregnant and married, looking back yearningly on her ardent feminist past. Elisabeth Moss in “Her Smell” presented a rock star who rose to manage in the riot grrrl era until self-destructing spectacularly. “Moxie,” geared towards younger viewers, is an endeavor to pass on the flashlight.
The Power Of Words
One of the most powerful lines in “Moxie” comes from conventional Claudia. Claudia’s lack of involvement in the protests results in Vivian’s defeat. She gets upset and leaves her to hang out with her new group of like-minded friends. Ultimately, Claudia says to Vivian, “I do care. You need to let me do it my way, okay?” “Moxie” highlights a point and strongly across a diverse group of members. Any group that necessitates monolithic conformity. It only includes a certain kind of person with a certain kind of outlook/knowledge/attitude—it does not justify calling itself liberating. “Moxie” gets that.
I got a proposition that goes something like this:
Dare you to do what you want
Dare you to cry right out loud.” — Bikini Kill, “Hey, Girlfriend.”
This optimistic, well-meaning coming-of-age film will leave feminist viewers cheering. Fans of co-star/director Amy Poehler are also likely to flock to Moxie. Poehler and her scriptwriters tried hard to reach a diverse audience; Learning from the 1990s Riot Grrrl movement’s mistakes that provided some inspiration for the film.
Characters specifically talk about being more intersectional. It’s a worthy goal, but there are moments when the film risks devolving into a grab bag of grievances. Still, when you think Poehler may have cast her net too wide; She flicks it back with a self-aware wink, like Vivian’s insistence that her mom gives up milk. Lisa’s prominently-placed NPR tote; Or Claudia’s polite concern that a Hawaiian-themed party doesn’t feel “culturally sensitive.”
Bullying Is Not Coll
Poehler also knows to step out of the way and let the teen actors carry the film. Which they do with plausibility and confidence, particularly leads Robinson, Pascual-Peña, Tsai, and Nico Hiraga as Vivian’s love interest. Schwarzenegger is appropriately smarmy as the “mediocre White dude” bully with a “chokehold on success.”
And it was a smart idea at the script level to start the film with Vivian mulling over her college application essay. That rite of passage for college-bound high-schoolers; Who are expected to both summarize their lives and show themselves to be wholly unique. The introverted Vivian’s problem is writing about a “cause.” She feels passionate about when she has thus far just gone with the flow; Even when the flow may have felt wrong.
Moxie is, at heart, a coming-of-age tale, and maybe also a generational one, since eye-opening experiences and change generally mark transitions. The film visualizes this in young women finding their voices, literally and figuratively. Despite Moxie’s imperfections, those voices will speak to many.
The movie did okay on the Netflix stream platform. 60% of the views did not like the movie. Some said it has too many feminist attributes that feel like men blow them. In some sequences, it feels like they are deliberately trying to put others down; Which does not send a very good message.
In some sequences, it feels like they are deliberately trying to put others down; Which does not send a very good message.