Netflix’s Moxie gives us everything good about the book and more

Moxie. Hadley Robinson as Vivian in Moxie. Cr /NETFLIX © 2020
Moxie. Hadley Robinson as Vivian in Moxie. Cr /NETFLIX © 2020 /

I read Moxie, the book by Jennifer Mathieu, two years ago, and it shot a bolt of powerful lightning up my spine. It’s inspiring in a world that doesn’t see girls, especially teenage girls, as more than a vapid stereotype. It shows the power they can have, the power we can have when we come together and fight injustice. The Netflix movie of the same name that came out on Wednesday, March 3, gave me that exact same feeling.

Moxie stars Hadley Robinson, Amy Poehler, Lauren Tsai, Alycia Pascual-Pena, Nico Haraga, Sabrina Haskett, Sydney Park, Anjelika Washington. Josie Totah, Emily Hopper, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Marcia Gay Harden, and Josephine Langford.

The cast could not have been better in this movie. Robinson portrays Vivian, our main character, perfectly. She’s scared to be seen at first. Even when she’s angry enough to create the Moxie zine that starts a feminist revolution in her school, she doesn’t let anyone know she’s the one behind it.

It takes seeing the harm she’s done to her friends and understanding the privilege she has being white that makes her come forward and take responsibility for the good and the bad that came from what she created.

Moxie is a must-watch Netflix movie

Tsai plays Claudia, Vivian’s best friend, masterfully. At first, she’s reluctant to join the movement in her school, then she takes small steps trying to fight with Vivian, and then her voice finally comes through when she tells Vivian what she’s going through, the stress she’s under, and why she can’t do everything Vivian can.

Pascual-Pena plays Lucy, the new girl in school who inspires Vivian to start Moxie. She’s never afraid to use her voice and fight the injustice she directly experiences in school and in the world (or at least she doesn’t show her fear outwardly).

She’s a Black Latinx girl who is repeatedly harassed by the school’s quarterback, Mitchell Wilson. She feels defeated when the administration will do nothing about it but is the first to join the cause when Moxie shows up at school.

Haraga is the perfect male love interest. As Seth, he supports Vivian and the Moxie cause in everything they do, but he’s also not a doormat. When Vivian takes things too far and insults him at a dinner with her mom, he doesn’t let it slide. He calls her out on it. He’s also so sweet and nice and clearly, completely infatuated with Vivian.

Vivian’s mom, Lisa, is played by Amy Poehler, and her portrayal is perfect. She has a bond with her daughter, but that doesn’t mean she won’t call her out or punish her when she’s out of line. She supports her fully as a former Riot grrrl herself, but she’s also still her mom and will not have her disrespecting her.

It’s these four people that lead Vivian to tell the world who she is and what she started. And the scene where she reveals this is directly from the book and gave me the same chills. It’s powerful, gives everyone a voice, and has the same energy of every protest I’ve ever been to.

Was I, a 31-year-old white lady, crying while a group of teenage girls took control of their lives and fought for what they believed in? Absolutely.  Emma Johnson, played by Josephine Langford, has an especially powerful speech during this scene.

The supporting cast is just as wonderful as the main. Sabrina Haskett is brilliant as Kaitlynn fighting the school’s dress code and Sydney Park and Anjelika Washington as Kiera and Amaya, respectively, fighting for the girls’ soccer team and against Mitchell Wilson is definitely one of the highlights of the film.

It was also AMAZING (although, it shouldn’t be at this point) that the characters were played by actors with the same identities. Meg, a disabled character, is played by a disabled actor, Emily Hopper, and CJ, a transgender girl, is played by Josie Totah, a transgender actor. We don’t see this enough in movies and TV shows.

There were some things I wish were expanded on, though. I wish Meg had a bigger storyline. She’s a disabled student who is part of the Moxie movement and I wish we learned more about her. I also wish we got more about Lucy and Amaya’s relationship. We see them kiss, but beyond that, we don’t get much else. I would have liked that to see how their relationship developed if it did.

Overall, Moxie did a wonderful job of representing the book and showing the highs and lows of fighting for equality and justice. It’s a must-watch this week!

Have you watched Moxie? What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below!

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