Netflix’s ‘Moxie’ puts an empowering twist on high school

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Photo Courtesy of IndieWire

‘Moxie’ unpacks real-world issues, as Vivian (Hadley Robinson) starts a feminist revolution at her high school after being inspired by her mother (Poehler’s) past

Lauren Reid, Content Editor

Directed by and starring Amy Poehler, Netflix’s ‘Moxie’ unpacks real-world issues, as Vivian (Hadley Robinson) starts a feminist revolution at her high school after being inspired by her mother (Poehler’s) past — one stemming from a push for gender equality.

Every year, some of the popular jocks at Vivian’s school create a demeaning list ranking girls from “most bangable” to “future MILF.” Motivated by this and the perpetually disrespectful behavior of guys at her school — primarily football star Mitchell Wilson (Patrick Schwarzenegger) — Vivian creates an anonymous zine called Moxie that she leaves in the girl’s bathroom.

Vivian’s Moxie grows extremely popular, inspiring and driving girls at her school to keep the momentum going (Alycia Pascual-Pena, Anjelika Washington, Sabrina Haskett, Sydney Park). Soon enough, Moxie is a club working to spread awareness and advocate for gender equality, but nobody knows Vivian is the one behind the revolution.

Of course, amidst it all, Vivian has a romantic interest — feminist skater King Seth (Nico Hiraga).

As a bitter 20-year-old, high school movies generally make me cringe. I’m not a fan of the girl who never talks to anyone (which was me) getting pursued by the outgoing, “hot” guy. I learned the hard way — that doesn’t happen. But honestly, this movie didn’t make me cringe. Vivian and Seth were undeniably a cute couple, minus the fact Vivian had some lowkey rude outbursts, but I forgive her. 

Also, side note: Patrick Schwarzenegger is 27. Why have we normalized letting people who haven’t stepped foot in a high school for a decade play the high-schooler? I’m staring directly at you, Riverdale. 

‘Moxie’ put an empowering, fresh take onto your average high school drama, and I really appreciated it. The film’s message is uplifting and needed. The way these girls tackle sexism at their school is tenacious and heartwarming at the same time, and the way they build friendships and acknowledge their differences in a positive way is special.

All the while, ‘Moxie’ is equipped with romance, humor, drama and endearing moments, all of which you’d expect from its high school setting. 

There is one thing that really made me feel weird about this movie though, and I feel like it has to be addressed.

For Vivian and Seth’s first real date, he took her to sneak into a funeral home, and it just felt like a big red flag to me. I’m not a relationship expert, but if the guy I liked took me to a funeral home and asked me which casket I liked best (this literally happened in the movie), I’d probably be dialing 911.

They also ended up laying in one of the caskets together. I know it was supposed to be a cute moment, but I felt really, really uncomfortable. I feel like they could’ve gone literally anywhere else — I mean he could’ve taken her to an abandoned 7-11 and been like “I used to ride my skateboard here” and I’d be like “aw, sentimental.” But c’mon, not a funeral home.

Overall, the movie was creative, motivating and did a great job conveying its message. I wouldn’t watch it again, but it was worth checking out.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars