Moxie (2021): Review and a Rant

Rating 12
Length 1h 51
Release 3.3.2021
Director Amy Poehler
About Inspired by her mom’s rebellious past and a confident new friend, a shy teenager publishes an anonymous zine calling out sexism at her school.

First Things First

I’m pissed. Not at the fillm, the film is an excellent adaptation. I watched it and I did what I never do; I checked the reviews. The first one on the list had the headline “Moxie, review: the only joke here is Amy Poehler’s idea of ‘inclusivity’”
I knew before clicking the link, this was going to be some white-assed dude taking issue with a film that wasn’t meant for him. Damn, I hate being right. Mr Robbie Collin, Film Critic, writing for the white middle-to-upper-class ‘The Telegraph’.
I actually took to twitter to admonish him; high on Moxie confidence. This is not a comedy. To boil it, and Amy Poehler, down to comedic elements and then slate it for its lack… it made my blood boil. Even worse, his response was to screenshot and circle the genre listings.
I’m a woman, I’ve read the book and I’ve spent the last ten years teaching the film’s demographic. Oh, and I have a film degree. Seeing it on a list, currated by white men, does not make it true. He watched the god damn film; events are triggered when a jock spits in a black girl’s coke and culminates with another classmate admitting she was raped.
How has this dude not paused, thought ‘it doesn’t really fit into comedy, so I’m not going to review it as if was misold as a comedy and failed to hit the mark.’ The irony, of course, is that Mr Robbie Collin completely missed the point of the story and, as a result, became the exact thing Moxie was fighting against.

As for Seth (Nico Hiraga), Vivian’s hunky male classmate, here is a figure with a valuable lesson for any teenage boys watching at home: if you’re an “ally”, girls will want to sleep with you, even if fealty to the cause comes at zero personal cost.

Robbie Collin. The Independant

Over the course of his 650 word review, 245 of those were simply retelling the plot (and the only place you’ll find any positive words), 325 were given to his lambasting of a film based upon its diversity, apparent stereotyping and expressing one of the most dangerous misinterpretations of a character i’ve ever seen.
Those last hundred and odd? Oh, he bitches about how Poehler and Tina Fey drew hearts and stars on their hands, as if political statements on the Red Carpet haven’t been a thing for years. From Emma Stone and Dakota Fanning wearing planned Parenthood pins to the Times Up movement that was commonplace at any carpet walk in 2018 and beyond.
Yes, to Collin, it seems a little less important and more fickle. However, as someone who watched it become a ‘thing’ in the school I taught at when the book was publish; its not a gimmick or publicity. There is sincerity when you get off your high horse.

The Good

  • The casting was incredible. Hadley Robinson had a hard job of being able to show this complex development of character; the introvert being pushed out of her comfort zone. It’s all there; a young woman frustrated at the sexism around her, the strength that comes from anonymity and the fallout from growing beyond what was there before.
  • Anjelika Washington has most recently been seen in DC show Star Girl. It was most excellent to see her in another role and, hopefully, an insight of things to come with her character in the show.
  • The film does well to cover all the bases from the book. the viewer will get an empowering narrative if they’re the demographic for the film. If you’re not a 14 year old girl, its not that this film isn’t for you. It’s more that its a lesson for you; should you be open minded enough.
  • The music and punk rock asthetic is such a wonderful sight. Yes, the book does have that element, but film is where it was always going to have its biggest impact.

The Bad

  • I want more. The one thing the aforementioned review got right? Outside of Vivian, there isn’t much development of the other characters. That’s not, for me anyway, a slight on the film. It’s the nature of the medium. Some things have to go for storytelling purposes. This probably would have worked much better, in terms of characters, as a tv series; limited or otherwise (but not tell this story in one season and make shit up for another 3 like 13 Reasons Why did). However, in terms of the story and the message, it did well for its 1h 50 runtime.

The Ugly

  • Be prepared for a rollercoaster of emotions. Frustration at the Principle, sadness at the environment young women are still faced with, heartbreak for so many reasons. I think any woman will identify with a lot of what happens during the course of the movie and if you’re a parent I think it will have an even deeper meaning to you.

Final Thoughts

I want more Punk! Please tell me this will lead to more punkish films!
Its a film I will most defintely watch again. It’ll be something I’d show my children (if I ever have them); male or female as I think there is a lesson for all in here.

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