Inspiring the next generation of feminists in Amy Poehler’s 'Moxie'.
The film begins with a nightmare. Our 16-year-old protagonist, Vivian (Hadley Robinson) is running through the woods at night. There are rustles in the trees around her and an ominous sense of dread. She opens her mouth to scream, but no sound comes out. This is ultimately the central premise of the film: a young woman finding her voice, and ultimately a collective female voice, out of a silenced scream.
Cut to present day, where the annual high school "rankings" have just been announced, categorising the girls into labels which include “best rack” and “most bangable”. Detestable football jock, Mitchell (Patrick Swarzenegger) personifies this day-to-day objectification that pervades the daily lives of the school’s young women. When he begins to bother new girl Lucy (Alycia Pascual-Peña), Vivian tries to reassure her by telling her to just keep her head down, to which Lucy corrects her: “I’m gonna keep my head up... high."
While on the surface, Moxie is a fairly light and optimistic story of high school feminist rebellion, Poehler also touches on (albeit briefly) heavier themes of rape and racism. It is also a brilliantly diverse cast, including disabled, trans and multi-racial actors.
Moxie promotes an optimistic and hopeful message on the power of female solidarity, and the potential for past generations to inspire future ones (Amy Poehler echoes Mean Girls, as the ultimate “cool mom"). Channelling 90s Riot Grrrl power with a punk rock infused soundtrack (Bikini Kill’s Rebel Girl), Moxie is the ultimate “fuck the patriarchy” air punch of a film.