I was so excited for the release of Moxie on Netflix, having read, and loved, the 2015 novel by Jennifer Mathieu just two weeks prior. Moxie tells the story of Vivian Carter and what happens when she starts Moxie, an anonymous zine intended to unite the girls at her sexist, unequal school: Rockport High. All are accustomed to the sexist actions of the football captain Mitchell Wilson and his teammates, and it’s new student Lucy Hernandez who sparks Vivian’s anger and fuels her to take a stand against them.
That means no more list rankings of “prettiest”, “takes the hottest selfies” amongst hundreds of other categories that the girls of Rockport High are compared for just to find winners for their cruel game. However, it’s not just the boys who are to blame. Staff also accuse the girls of violating the dress code when they are clearly not. Apparently, their tank tops that ‘show too much skin’ are unacceptable and a distraction to the boys. Moxie aims to stop this.
Vivian’s Moxie makes all the girls feel they are not alone and gives them power. From drawing stars and hearts on their hands, to all wearing tank tops and walking out of school in protest, they all know they want the same thing. Equality. And this film really shows how powerful a group of girls can be at making a difference.
Yet the movie was slow to start, twenty minutes in and hardly anything had happened. I began to doubt whether my high expectations after reading the book were just too high. I also realised I wasn’t able to connect with certain characters and feel the level of anger while watching the movie that I did when reading the book. I felt we didn’t get enough time with each scene to fully understand how the girls felt, it all moved rather quickly and I didn’t have time to take in what was happening. With the book being such a favourite of mine, the film just didn’t give me the same feeling of empowerment.
Obviously, I have something to compare it to and I may be entirely wrong with my opinion, but it just wasn’t as impactful as I’d hoped it to be. Though it did pick up around the hour and twenty mark, when Moxie grew more extreme, with offensive stickers they would put on the boys’ lockers and a girl strong enough to call out on rape. It reminded me of the pivotal moment in the book where enough finally became enough. I think the message of female power is clear and comes across easily but I really believe it could have been stronger and communicated more powerfully. I wanted to feel empowered and I just didn’t get that.
Sadly, I’d only recommend this as an easy watch, but if you really want to experience some strong feminine figures taking action, I’d suggest Jennifer Mathieu’s book as an alternative.
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