Monday, April 19, 2021

Movie Monday: Moxie

I spent a couple of nights down at the beach last week, on a little solo getaway, which meant plenty of reading, writing time, and ... watching movies my husband wouldn't be interested in! I enjoyed Set It Up, a rom-com on Netflix, but it wasn't fabulous, just a fun, light rom-com. My first night, though, I watched Moxie, a mother-daughter, coming-of-age movie (also on Netflix) that I really loved.

Amy Poehler plays Lisa, single mom to sixteen-year-old Vivian, played by Hadley Robinson. Lisa often jokes about her "misspent youth" as a rebel, protesting and getting involved in feminist causes, and Viv mostly just rolls her eyes. She's a quiet, shy girl who's had the same best friend, Claudia (played by Lauren Tsai), since they were tots. Viv's awakening begins when a new girl starts at their very traditional high school. Lucy, played by Alycia Pascual-Pena, dares to speak up in class, about how their English curriculum includes only "old white guys," and she refuses to put up with the abuse from Mitchell, played by Patrick Schwarzenegger, that all the other girls take for granted. Mitchell is the school's star football player and is pretty much given carte blanche for his bad behavior since he is so charming to the adults running the school. Principal Shelly, played by Marcia Gay Harden, is particularly enraptured by Mitchell and has a very traditional "boys will be boys" attitude. Seeing Lucy speak up makes Viv start to think about the double standards and what she and the other girls at school have put up with for so long. She digs out the old suitcase with all her mom's counter-culture materials, and her imagination is sparked about how she can maybe make a difference. She starts a feminist 'zine that sparks a revolution at her school, all the while helping her to figure out who she is and what she believes in.

I loved this movie! It made me realize that while light, fun movies are OK, I prefer mine with a core of meaning and consequence. The acting is all outstanding in this film, including Marcia Gay Harden, who you will love to hate. Amy Poehler is not the center of this movie, nor does she play a typically comedic part, but she is great in the quiet role of Viv's mom.The young actors playing the students at Viv's school all bring depth to their characters, moving well beyond the typical stereotypes (in fact, outright busting many of those stereotypes). The writing was good, too. The movie has a serious core and addresses important issues, but it also has some romance and plenty of humor. All in all, it's the whole package: a fun, uplifting movie with heart and a powerful message. I thoroughly enjoyed it and had a huge smile on my face at the end. You'll be cheering for Viv and her friends, too!

Moxie is a Netflix original, so it is available exclusively on the streaming service.

Check out the trailer for a preview of the fun, inspiring tone:

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