Moxie (2021) Review

A Fantastic young cast telling a really important story.  I enjoyed this way more then I thought I would.

Certificate: 12

Director: Amy Poehler

Screenwriter: Jennifer Mathieu (based upon the novel by), Tamara Chestna

Starring: Hadley Robinson, Lauren Tsai, Alycia Pascual-Pena

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Runtime: 111 Minutes

Language: English

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewed by: Pearl

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Fed up with the sexist and toxic status quo at her high school, a shy 16-year-old finds inspiration from her mother’s rebellious past and anonymously publishes a zine that sparks a school-wide, coming-of-rage revolution. – From IMDB

From the rather generic sounding synopsis on both IMDB and Netflix, and the rather insulting 4.3 rating on IMDB, I had rather low expectations for this film.  Coming of age stories about high school girls are a dime a dozen, and so are the shy girl transformation type movies, so I was just expecting more of the same.  Imagine my surprise when this funny, heartfelt, emotional and empowering film completely filled my heart and blew away all of my expectations.

The balance of comedy and drama is what keeps this film afloat.  The film deals with a lot of heavy topics; rape, sex, sexuality, bullying, racism, sexism, but does so both in a very respectful and reverent way, while still managing to keep the mood light.  It would have been easy to make this story serious and almost dark.  The light-hearted nature of the film means the subject matter is accessible to people, especially young people, an important factor if we want younger people to care about these kinds of messages.

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There isn’t a disappointing performance from any member of our young cast.  Hadley Robinson leads the ensemble in a great performance, but the film really shines when all of our ensemble are together, they are all playing off each other and it really is something special.  A rare thing in high school movies, not to have a weak link in the chain.  Not to be left behind the adult cast are also all very capable, with Amy Poehler pulling double duty as both director and actress and doing a stand out job as both.  Quick shout out to Clark Gregg who totally snuck up on me and as always, the sight of his face just makes me smile.  Even if it is just for a bit part like it is here.

This film won’t resonate with everyone.  It isn’t subtle in it’s messages, it is likely to make older people feel very old, and is bound to make a certain kind of person feel victimised and singled out.  But I think that is kind of the point.  Change won’t happen if uncomfortable conversations don’t happen.  And this film is one of the more accessible and comedic ways to start those conversations.

‘Moxie’ is streaming now on Netflix.

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