Moxie is a Riot grrrl scene do-over

Hadley Robinson in Moxie

Moxie is an attempt to bring the Riot grrrl feminist scene into the present with more intersectionality, more social media, and a dash of #TimesUp. It doesn’t succeed 100%, but it’s a celebration of women power that is easy to enjoy. It’s streaming on Netflix.

Amy Poehler and Hadley Robinson in Moxie.

Moxie was directed by Amy Poehler. She also acts in the role of mother to the main character Vivian (Hadley Robinson).

Alycia Pascual-Peña in Moxie

When new girl Lucy (Alycia Pascual-Peña) shows up to challenge the English lit teacher Mr. Davies (Ike Barinholtz) on the topic of “The Great Gatsby,” Vivian is struck by her bravery, the points she makes, and the sheer force of her personality. Alycia Pascual-Peña was the true star of this movie, in my opinion.

The impression Lucy made on Vivian prompted her to talk to her mom about the fight for feminist rights from the “old days.” That sent Vivian searching through her mom’s keepsakes, music, and zines. She listened to Bikini Kill, soaked up the zines, and decided to do something similar. She would create a zine pointing out what was going on in the school.

Lauren Tsai and Hadley Robinson in Moxie

Vivian and her best friend Claudia (Lauren Tsai) tried to lay low and stay off everyone’s radar. So when Vivian put together the first Moxie zine, she did it in secret. It was a feminist cry that managed to unite all the girls in the school in protest of the way girls were treated there.

There was some shorthand in the storytelling. The English teacher, Principal Shelly (Marcia Gay Harden), and the captain of the football team Mitchell (Patrick Schwarzenegger) stood for all the clueless, the bullies, and the entitled. In a film of this brief length with so many characters, I suppose it was necessary for some of the characters became stereotypes.

Hadley Robinson and Nico Hiraga in Moxie

Seth (Nico Hiraga) was the good male character. He had a crush on Vivian and supported all her feminist fights to bring change to the school.

Behind the cardboard character types, the cast was inclusive. That was the best part of the film to me. There was racial and ethnic variety among the characters. There was a disabled character and a trans character – the Riot grrrl scene got a do-over with this cast.

I thought the message of empowerment for young women was delivered well. I found the film enjoyable and uplifting.

The soundtrack in the movie was excellent! You can find the music from the film at Tunefind.

Poster for Moxie

Here’s the trailer.

Have you seen this one yet? What did you think of it?

Author: Virginia DeBolt

After many years as an educator and writer, Virginia retired from working life. She's always loved a good movie or TV show and wants to use her free time to talk about them with you now. She's Old Ain't Dead!

Comments are appreciated!