‘Moxie’ succeeds at its goal of female empowerment


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Netflix’s “Moxie” starring Hadley Robinson and Amy Poehler, is a captivating modern day female empowerment film containing controversial content. Released on March 3, 2021, the film is an adaptation of Jennifer Mathieu’s 2015 novel “Moxie” and follows a feminist movement at 16 year old protagonist Vivian Carter’s high school. 

“Moxie” begins on Vivian Carter’s first day of Junior year. Vivian, played by Hadley Robinson, begrudgingly attends Rockport High School along with her best friend Claudia, played by Lauren Tsai. Vivian and Claudia have always been perfect students and well liked by the high school’s staff. However, this all starts to change when Lucy Hernandez, played by Alycia Pascual-Peña, begins attending Rockport High. 

Lucy immediately notices the sexist culture within her new school and attempts to bring awareness to it. Vivian notices Lucy’s failed efforts and decides to break away from her straight A student mold and get involved. Vivian creates “Moxie”, an alter ego that empowers the girls of Rockport high by spreading feminist posters and messages throughout the student body. With guidance from Lucy, Vivian Carter follows in her mother’s rebellious footsteps and sets out to change Rockport High School from the inside out. 

Amy Poehler both directed and starred in the 2021 film. “Moxie” is the second film Pohler has directed, the first being “Wine Country,” a 2019 comedy. Although the content of “Moxie” received extremely polarizing reviews, Poehler, with help from the cast, did an incredible job bringing Jennifer Mathieu’s novel to life.


Following the lead of seasoned actress Amy Pohler, the “Moxie” cast conveyed each part of the powerful storyline cohesively. Hadley Robinson, who played Vivian, was one of the most important pieces within the “Moxie” puzzle. Robinson conveyed her character’s transition from a timid, reserved, teenage girl to an influential leader extremely well. She showed Vivian’s vulnerability in the beginning of the movie, and the confidence she gained throughout. Vivian’s right hand man Seth, played by Nico Hiraga, completed another important piece. Hiraga was very likeable in his supporting actor role. His character, Seth, was one of the few male supporters of the movement and quickly became Vivian’s love interest. Vivian and Seth were two of my favorite characters because of how well their actors portrayed them. 

So what caused “Moxie’s” negative reviews? For many, it was a story of a feminist movement that quickly showed its negative aspects. Sarah Weaver, a writer for the Washington Examiner described the movie as, “painting a brutally accurate picture of the failures of modern feminism.” 

I completely disagree. The only plot point “Moxie” could have done without was the mistreatment of Bradley, played by Charlie Hall. Bradley was a cheerful, lovable, student council leader who dressed up as the mascot for football games. Bradley was tripped during an assembly by one of Moxie’s followers and broke his arm. During a confession near the end of the movie a girl on the soccer team says, “I tripped Bradley… That’s feminism right there”. This line takes away from the powerful feminist aspect of this movie and makes it seem like a joke. With the feminist movement already seen as insignificant to many, even small jokes within a positive movie like “Moxie” are unnecessary and avoidable. 

Other than that small misstep, “Moxie” showed powerful female leadership, took present-day issues within schools head on, and created an amazing cast to pull the film all together.