It’s very easy to look at Moxie and think it’s a Mean Girls copycat but when you step back, this is very much a #MeToo film.
This is a film that deals with the arrival of a new student but not in the same way as the Tina Fey-directed film. But at the same time, new student Lucy (Alycia Pascual-Peña) isn’t the main star of the film. Vivian (Hadley Robinson) takes an ode to her mother’s (Amy Poehler) rebellious past by publishing Moxie, an underground zine.
When Lucy reports the football team captain Mitchell Wilson (Patrick Schwarzenegger) for harassment, principal Marlene Shelly decides to look the other way. Oh, come on! When Vivian sees what Lucy experiences, she decides enough is enough. The shy Vivian rises up to take a stand against the sexist and toxic status quo. Her anonymous zine also pays homage to one of Principal Shelly’s sayings. Little did Vivian know, this zine would bring about a revolution throughout the entire school. While Vivian starts a growing friendship with Lucy, things don’t quite stay the same with best friend Claudia (Lauren Tsai).
I hate bringing up Mean Girls again but there’s another key difference between the two. Vivian becomes friends with the cliques across the school. But at the same time, Moxie the zine is honestly no different than the Burn Book. They are both outing things about other students. For better or worse, that is. But again, Vivian is bringing women together throughout the school in this film.
This film also exposes some of the sexism that regularly takes place in schools. Girls are forced to put on a sweater if they reveal too much skin. But guys? Guys can get away with wearing a tank top with no repercussions. How is any of this fair? Forget wearing pink, the women wear tank tops to revolt! Honestly, the classroom scene with this discussion is one of the best in the film. You’re watching Mr. Davies (Ike Barinholtz) fall apart while trying to get the words out. It’s a regular reminder that things are still not as equal as they should be.
Another thing to appreciate about Moxie is that the feminism is intersectional. You can see the difference in how this film approaches things compared to similar films from 15-20 years ago. There’s more representation in this film. In real life, intersectional feminism can still be improved. I say this as a transgender Jewish woman who feels unwelcome in left-wing LGBTQ spaces solely because of being Jewish. But I digress.
A lot of people have spent the past year listening and learning to be a better ally to other communities–Moxie combines these ideas, so to speak, for the screen.
DIRECTOR: Amy Poehler
SCREENWRITERS: Tamara Chestna and Dylan Meyer
CAST: Hadley Robinson, Lauren Tsai, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Nico Hiraga, Sydney Park, Josephine Langford, Clark Gregg, Josie Totah, Alycia Pascual-Peña, Anjelika Washington, Charlie Hall, Sabrina Haskett, with Ike Barinholtz, Amy Poehler and Marcia Gay Harden