Moxie, an empowering film, was released on March 3, 2021, on Netflix. The film follows the main character, Vivian (Hadley Robinson), as she fights against her school’s sexist ways.
Vivian must think of an idea for her college essay on something she cares about. Having always been an introvert, she isn’t involved in much and is not sure what to write about. Her mother talks about how she and her friends had always protested everything in high school and how she doesn’t regret it.
Every year, the girls at Rockport are ranked by the guys based on their bodies, and everyone had just accepted it. That week, the rankings for the girls come out. With what her mom had said in mind, Vivian begins to think about how morally wrong the ranking. Her best friend, Claudia (Lauren Tsai), does not want to get involved and Vivian decides to anonymously make a difference by making posters behind her back about the girls needing to fight back. Eventually, a group of people from the school collect the posters and decide to come together and call themselves “Moxie” after hearing their principal say it during a speech.
In the film, it is Vivian’s junior year. Lucy (Alycia Pascual-Peña), who is also a junior, is new to the school, and also was a part of Moxie. Lucy was a very important character because she totally changed the way that Vivian looked at things. Lucy did not put up with what everyone had accepted as normal, including the list. Personally, Lucy was one of my favorite characters. Without her, Vivian would have been stuck in the cycle of keeping her head down and being quiet. In the end, Lucy is the reason that “Moxie” became a safe spot for the girls at school.
CJ (Josie Totah), a trans character, is a part of the club. In the beginning, before the club is officially formed, she mentions how everyone, including teachers, is using her deadname. I felt as though this was something that the movie could have incorporated more. It seemed as though it was mentioned once while everyone cheered on CJ for speaking on the topic and then they just moved on with their lives. The film also incorporated a kiss between two girls, although it happened in the blink of an eye, and was also never mentioned again.
These scenes could have been brought to life more within the film. We never really see CJ’s struggles and it is made out to be unimportant. This does not only invalidate her struggles but also could have had such a large impact on the theme of women empowerment in the movie. This is a side of women’s struggles that is already not talked about enough and this seemed like it was only a failed attempt at being inclusive.
I think that “Moxie” had a great plot. The idea of how everything that is directed towards making a change can actually make a difference showed. Through different characters, the film was able to incorporate these little things, and I think they really added to the film. I enjoyed the idea of not having to do this huge action for a big change, and that small actions can make a difference too.
I felt that everyone’s emotions were all shown in a more realistic way than most movies. Vivian’s frustration was accurately portrayed as things go south throughout the movie. Vivian had an outburst of frustration one day at dinner that portrayed her bottled-up feelings towards her mom and best friend over her parent’s divorce and a fight with Claudia. I felt like this scene was important to show how much of a struggle making a change can be, but her boyfriend, Seth, was there to witness this. Seth was upset at her for this and thinks that it was unreasonable. Then, after a scene of him saying he was angered, he suddenly moved on and everything was fine again. I feel as though this should not have gone by so quickly as we, the viewers, never got an explanation as to why he forgave her.
Overall, I enjoyed this movie. The film could have gone more in-depth about a few situations such as the deadnaming, the two girls and their potential relationship, and Seth’s anger towards Vivian. CJ and the two girls could have added to the plot and reached out more to other audiences, such as the trans community. “Moxie” is definitely worth the watch, although some parts of it could have been improved.