“Moxie”: a new Netflix watch about speaking up for what you believe in


Photo courtesy of Netflix

The new movie, “Moxie” on Netflix was released on March 3rd. This movie is all about girl power and the consciousness of the feminist mind.

By Melissa Redlich, Sports Editor

Coined in 1930, the word “moxie” meant nerve, spunk, courage, and determination. However starting in the beginning of March it has taken on whole new connotations. Feminism. Revolution. Rebel.

Today, it is hard to find feel-good, feminist movies that are directed towards the high school age group. The new movie “Moxie” brings a twist to the old high school drama, with a story about a young girl who finds her voice and becomes zealous about everything relating to feminism. 

The coming-of-age film “Moxie,” directed by Amy Poehler, came out on Netflix on March 3, 2021. Originally a 2017 novel written by high school math teacher Jennifer Mathieu, this story follows Vivian Carter (Hadley Robinson) through her junior year at a small town Texas high school.

“Moxie” focuses on finding your voice and changing the status quo. Vivian begins the film as a shy, obedient student who is not the type to rock the boat. However, after the one hour and 51 minutes of personal growth, she ends the teen flick as an activist and advocate for women’s rights, equality, and diversity. 

Subsequent to discovering that her mother (Amy Poehler) has a rebel past as a member of The Punk Rock group Riot Grrrl and becoming inspired by events at her school, Vivian decides to take matters into her own hands. She exposes stereotypes about racism, sexism, and LGBTQ+ rights that are rampant in her high school by highlighting the problems in a grassroots zine and distributing it via the girls bathroom. 

Vivian started her junior year deliberately ignorant towards the sexism at her school. She did not have the courage to confront these issues, and instead decided to hide from them. One of the catalysts for this was her new friend Lucy Hernandez (Alycia Pascual-Peña), who was not only supportive of Vivian’s transformation throughout the movie, but gave Vivian her fiery drive. 

“Moxie” is really entertaining. With its witty dialogue and high school drama, it sweeps the viewer through the ups and downs of junior year. It is empowering to watch a young largely female cast of all colors and ages standing up for themselves and creating change, not only for the purpose of the film, but also for Hollywood as a whole. It is amazing seeing girls kick ass.  

On the “Today” show, Poehler said that one of her favorite things about making the movie was working with a group of great, talented women; “…There were women both in front and behind the camera, making it such a collaborative space.”

“Moxie” helps viewers confront and recognize pervasive and underlying discriminatory stereotypes that exist, not only in high schools, but everywhere. The more aware the world is of these stereotypes, the faster everyone can become educated and ultimately change their mindsets. This movie shows that such change is possible. 

In an interview with Yahoo Entertainment, Poehler explains her reasons for deciding to create a movie based on the novel “Moxie.” “[I wanted to] bring down an issue to a human level and was interested in how to talk about activism, staying focused and finding your voice in a human-like way.”

The movie also has some shortcomings and weaknesses, mainly the fact that it was unrealistic. The results of Vivian’s activism were too easily achieved and at the end everything finished too neatly. The characters faced struggles, but they were figured out in a mere second. It was hard to take it seriously when viewers do not get to see any actual long-term change. 

Another criticism relates to the one-dimensionality of the characters: even though they were entertaining, they were hollow. It is hard to fully empathize and appreciate characters when you are unable to really relate and understand them. 

Overall, this film was like candy. It is sweet when you first taste it, but turns out to be less fulfilling than it originally seemed. One takeaway from “Moxie” is that change can happen if you speak up and voice your opinion.

As Hadley Robinson said in an interview on the “Today” show, “I think I wish that this had been my high school experience where I really did start a revolution. I encourage it.”