MOXIE!: The Film About Friends, Feminism, and Fighting


Moxie, newly released to Netflix, talks about everything from feminism to sexual harassment to immigrant struggles.

Moxie does not leave anything out of the picture. 16-year-old Vivian (Hadley Robinson) turns into a feminist icon quite seemingly overnight after anonymously publishing a political zine inspired by her mother’s ’90s riot grrrl phase. The zine, which she distributes across her high school, is an immediate hit among many girls, with its feminist content and direct callouts against popular yet sexist football players attracting much attention. Vivian, alongside her best friend Claudia (Lauren Tsai) and a strong group of female friends, begins organizing movements that send waves across their high school and launch the population into a full force conversation about everything from sexual harassment to bullying and race relations to immigrant struggles. 

In this way, Moxie is powerful. It sets the stage for important conversations on-and-off screen and seems to check a lot of boxes on the list of ‘Modern Social Issues’. While the film, directed by Amy Poehler and based on the book of the same title, has received criticism for its seemingly artificial attempt to address social issues through the lens of a white, cis character, I still find it a good movie taking an important step in the right direction. It is an empowering film that shows a strong group of female feminists taking a stand against a traditional, social-hierarchy-driven school. 

That being said, it is also clear that Moxie has its fair share of flaws. It, at some points, feels heavy with random dialogue that seems like it only exists to push the movie past the 1-hour 30-minute mark. At other times, it has characters doing things that no other high schooler would ever do (thus adding to my theory that all Hollywood directors have no recollection of what it feels like to be a teenager). But some of this dreadful filler and odd characterization does manage to be balanced out by some truly amazing characters, most notably Seth (Nico Hiraga) and Lucy (Alycia Pascual-Pena) who, in my opinion, are the main forces that keep much of the plot moving. 

Moxie is a movie that fuels an important conversation and gets its audience thinking about how to take a stand against things that are normally overlooked. This movie, while it seems to be geared towards younger teenagers, is still a great film to watch whenever you are in the mood to cheer on a strong group of ‘lady power’ protagonists.