‘Moxie’ takes on universal issues

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Since the start of the pandemic and movie theater shutdowns, movie releases have become heavily reliant on streaming services. Netflix released the film “Moxie” this month, the plot of which perfectly correlates to Women’s History Month. 

March is Women’s History Month and March 8 marked International Women’s Day. In honor of both occasions, as well as to highlight issues still faced by women today, “Moxie” is a movie to pay attention to.

Moxie is a coming-of-age story addressing a number of issues women continue to face. The film focuses on 16-year-old Vivian (Hadley Robinson), who creates a zine in which she remains completely anonymous. She creates a zine after being inspired by her mother Lisa (Amy Poehler) who had somewhat of a rebellious past herself.

Vivian creates the zine, titled “Moxie,” to battle the double standards and sexism at her high school. This battle is the main focus of the film, although it brings in other major issues in society that are associated with battles women fight day in and day out.

A new student at her school, Lucy (Alycia Pascual), introduces Vivian to the fact that just because women can keep their head down and ignore annoying toxic behavior coming from men, it does not mean they should, as that behavior could become dangerous. She reminds her that women should not be the ones making the adjustments or accommodations for that kind of behavior.

Once Vivian’s zine reaches a larger audience at her school, more and more people support “Moxie,” until a group of girls form an official club that leads to a high school revolution. For the most part Vivian’s identity remains anonymous until the final scene of the film when she reveals it to her love interest Seth (Nico Hiraga).

The Moxie school club was first registered as an official club by Claudia (Lauren Tsai), Vivian’s best friend. She registers the club under her name as Vivian is still anonymous and to show that she supports Moxie’s women issues, after Vivian criticized her for not taking part in their protests.

This is when the film addresses issues facing immigrants, and Vivian’s lack of understanding of the different rules and expectations in other cultures and among different parents who have different backgrounds.

In the film, Seth is the prime example of how more men should act and the film needs more characters like his, supportive and uplifting women, as opposed to characters like Mitchell (Patrick Schwarzenegger), a jock harassing girls in school. Mitchell goes as far as sexually assaulting his ex-girlfriend Emma (Josephine Langford). Emma gets the courage to speak out because of the support of Moxie, who encouraged students to walk out of school as a form to support Emma.

There are multiple unrealistic scenarios that are distracting. Ine one such scene, Vivian vandalizes school property as part of a protest, giving the wrong impression of how to go about protesting. Rather than being held accountable for the vandalism or facing any sort of consequences, Vivian walks away admired by school staff.

The film’s resolution of the sexual assault was also unsatisfying. Realistically, most of the time after someone comes forward over a year after the assault took place they do not get a happy resolution and the process is incredibly daunting and long.

In the film, after the victim comes forward, the student accused is pulled out of class as if he was going to get into trouble. The shot in the film is quite dramatic, leaving the viewer thinking he is going to get what he deserves, but in reality the victim would likely have to see him many times in the future.

Some of the other issues raised within the film appart from those or sexism, double standards and harrassment are those of  race, sexual assault and immigration.

It is incredibly important to speak about all of those issues, but “Moxie” overwhelms the viewer. It was fantastic to see a film with a diverse cast shining a spotlight on so many issues but there just wasn’t enough time in the film to fully cover every area. Every single topic brought up is incredibly important, and deserves to be given the time to fully be addressed and not just mentioned in a scene or two. 

The film seemed to try to take on too much, so much so that some of it gets lost.

What makes this film universal is the issues it addresses because those issues are ongoing so the younger generations are born with these issues still in existence. 

The high school setting shows that these issues do not just pertain to a certain age group, gender, or race. By showing teens and young adults facing these issues the film also shows conversations addressing these universal issues early on as women can be aware and men can understand and support women instead of being part of the problem. 

Overall the film mainly highlights the fact that these are not just women’s issues because those causing and forming part of the problem makes it their issue. The film greatly highlights the fact that feminism is not just for women.