Moxie: Inclusive, Until It Isn’t

Written by Luke Barnes

Moxie is a comedy, coming of age film directed by Amy Poehler. The film sees high school student Vivian (Hadley Robinson), become bored with the sexist statis quo of her highschool and with a little punk rock guidance from her mum (played by Poehler), decides to bring about a feminist revolution at her school. It is based on the book of the same name by Jennifer Mathieu.

I am not going to lie; this one was hard to get through. When I heard the early in the film line of why should we care about The Great Gatsby “it was written by an old white dude, about an old white dude”, I cringed so hard I turned the film off. However, as I intended to review it I put it back on later; also whilst I have you I just want to say it is heavily debated that F. Scott Fitzgerald did not in fact write The Great Gatsby, with some believing it to be the work of his wife Zelda- so yeah.

That one line speaks for the entire tone of the film. I applaud the ideas on display here, the film does make some solid points, but it also beats you over the head with them again and again and takes any of the fun out of the film, instead making it feel like a lecture. Feminist ideas have been conveyed in tons of films, in a more accessible and lets face it better written way, Booksmart and Misbehaviour both come to mind, but much like the comedy films of Will Ferrell this film thinks loud and brash is the way forward.

Overall, I will be blunt this film is deeply contrived in the writing department. The cringe factor gets unbearable as the film goes on. Which is sad because if you turn off the holier than thou politics for a second, there is actually quite a wholesome coming of age story buried somewhere deep down. The struggles that Vivian and her friends go through, are very familiar to anyone who has ever been outcasted before or made to feel lesser, this film could have been a rallying moment for the outsider a moment to seize your power and reclaim your life. However, in its incredibly over the top efforts to seem inclusive, it ignores and excludes others who might feel the same.

It’s ironic.

Pros.

Hadley Robinson is a strong newcomer

Poehler has a few funny jokes and honestly this film could probably do with more of her as she is the best thing about it (in an acting sense, to be stressed).

An important message of empowerment

Cons.

Ignoring others who might feel left out and excluded from the awful highschool experience

Focusing far, far too much on politics

Forcing its message down your throat, rather than trying to actually handle it in a meaningful way

Some of the cringiest dialogue I have ever heard in my life.

1.5/5

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