Moxie centres around Vivian (Hadley Robinson – Utopia 2020, i’m thinking of ending things), who’s starting 11th grade, and is one of those schoolkids who doesn’t fall in with any of the social norms or cliques, similar to her best friend Claudia (Lauren Tsai), and so they feel ignored by most of the school, especially amongst those who always have significant others hanging around them.
However, our heroine suddenly fancies Seth (Nico Hiraga) after he grew over the summer and ended up a lot taller. Will he fancy her, too? What do you think?
Elsewhere school jock Mitchell (Patrick Schwarzenegger) is harrassing Lucy (Alycia Pascual-Peña), who calls him out for being “dangerous“, in relation to his harrassment of her, such as taking her Coke can and spitting in it, which is pretty gross. Supposedly running the school – and ignoring such complaints – is Principal Shelly (Marcia Gay Harden – Grandma, Fifty Shades Darker), a completely ineffective headmistress who doesn’t want to do any work.
One day, she finds her mum, Lisa’s (Amy Poehler, also directing) school magazine which she created at a time when they trying to change the world, before she gave up ideas of revolution, realised rebelling against the system gets you nowhere, and settled for sniffing around colleague John (Clark Gregg).
But since Vivian’s got fight in her for now, she starts up the titular magazine, rising against sexism, after the list goes round the school which states who’s hot and who’s not, along with some more nefarious terms. Once her first batch is printed out, she leaves them in the female toilets to see if anyone’s interested and, naturally, a lot of people are, otherwise we wouldn’t have a movie.
Over time, friendships and relationships change, but then often, the reason for friends falling out is because one doesn’t want to explain their reasons to the other, and as such, have incredible thin skins.
Will Vivian ever reveal it’s her? Well, there are no particular surprises in Moxie, but then it’s hardly The Usual Suspects. It’s just a fun coming-of-age movie for anyone who’s either a teenager now, or was a teenager back in school and came across all of these morons.
Given that it’s 2021 and not the’80s, topics like diversity and gender equality form part of the script. Usually, however, such topics feel like they’re crowbarred in for the sake of it, such as Lucy stating she didn’t like having to read The Great Gatsby over the summer because it wasn’t diverse in any way. That said, I thought she was meant to be new to the school, yet seemed to have summer homework set from the end of the previous year.
Moxie is a bit simplistic in how it treats the subject, but it’s certainly worth a watch for kids of any age in secondary school. The film has a 15-certificate, but that’s only partly due to f-words. There’s certainly no more than you’d expect in a 12-cert film, but there are some situations that some of the kids go through which must’ve bumped it up to a 15-cert, even though they can be suffered by someone under 15. There’s some other content with how some school kids degrade other kids is also one that anyone who’s been to school will recognise.
As a couple of asides, for some reason, when you start a new year, you still have the same teacher in the same room as the year before. When I was at school, each year you had a new form teacher and we were in a different classroom.
Also, Lisa GRABS the supermarket trolley handles while moving it around the store. Even before the pandemic, I would always push it around by my palms. You never can trust anyone to be clean.
Moxie is on Netflix from Wednesday March 3rd, but isn’t yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD.
Running time: 111 minutes
Release date: March 3rd 2021
Aspect Ratio: 2.00:1
Director: Amy Poehler
Producers: Kim Lessing, Amy Poehler, Morgan Sackett
Screenplay: Tamara Chestna, Dylan Meyer
Novel: Jennifer Mathieu
Music: Mac McCaughan
Vivian: Hadley Robinson
Claudia: Lauren Tsai
Lucy: Alycia Pascual-Peña
Seth: Nico Hiraga
Kaitlynn: Sabrina Haskett
Mitchell Wilson: Patrick Schwarzenegger
Kiera: Sydney Park
Amaya: Anjelika Washington
Meg: Emily Hopper
CJ: Josie Totah
Lisa: Amy Poehler
Mr. Davies: Ike Barinholtz
Principal Shelly: Marcia Gay Harden
Emma Johnson: Josephine Langford
Jason: Joshua Walker
John: Clark Gregg
Bradley: Charlie Hall
Boo: Avery Bagenstos
Liu: Eon Song
Mark: Corey Fogelmanis
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.