• 13 Mar - 19 Mar, 2021
  • Mag The Weekly

Netflix movie Moxie is notable for two things: being Amy Poehler’s sophomore directorial outing, and being a different riff on usual teen-lit adaptations. It’s based on Jennifer Mathieu’s acclaimed 2017 novel. It’s Vivian’s (Hadley Robinson) first day of junior year. She and bestie Claudia (Lauren Tsai) walk through the halls and wonder who among their female classmates will be labelled as by their male counterparts, led by popular quarterback Mitchell Wilson (Patrick Schwarzenegger). They’re introverts who tend to sit quietly and observe. Vivian goes to English class and watches as new girl Lucy (Alycia Pacual-Pena) spars with Mitchell and their teacher, Mr Davies (Ike Barinholtz). Mitchell cuts her off mid-sentence; she struggles to make a point; Mr Davies lets it happen. After class, when Lucy resists Mitchell’s advances, he spits in her Coke. Lucy goes to Principal Shelly (Marcia Gay Harden) over the incident, and is shushed when she uses the word “harassment.” That’s too tricky, Shelly says, resistant to any criticism of the school’s most popular darling student. Vivian shares the prevailing sentiment that Mitchell’s “just annoying,” but Lucy doesn’t buy it for a second. Meanwhile, at home, Vivian learns that her aging Gen-X mom (Poehler) was a ’90s riot girl. Moxie isn’t quite as engaging, but it’s consistently hopeful and shows some progress.