High School Battle of the Sexes
Moxie, directed by Amy Poehler, hit home for me. It’s about sexism in a high school, and I still remember several sexist incidents that happened to me as a high school student back in days of yore. I thought such situations would have been relegated to history by now. But Poehler’s contemporary dramedy, based on a novel by Jennifer Mathieu, makes me wonder if anything has changed much. Yes, I know the film uses lots of exaggeration for entertainment purposes. And yet, what’s happening on screen cries out to be believed.
Poehler’s fine diverse cast might be responsible for that. Hadley Robinson, as Moxie, looks and acts like a shy high school girl. And Lauren Tsai is quite convincing as her loyal best friend. Poehler also appears as Moxie’s extroverted mom with a rebellious past, She makes us laugh in one particular scene as she embarrasses her daughter and her sympathetic boyfriend portrayed by the wonderful Nico Hiraga. Poehler fits her mom role and makes us forget about “Parks and Recreation” and “SNL.” Plus, although she doesn’t get enough camera time, Alycia Pascual-Peῆa stands out as a brave new student who begins to challenge the way girls are treated at Rockport, among other complaints.
In this high school, boys rule the roost.
What do girls need? A great big boost!
One girl decides to write her rage
and secretly on each ‘zine page.
Her chosen nom de plume “Moxie”
calls down sexism; don’t you see?
It soon stirs up a hornet’s nest
but brings more fairness and that’s best.
Serious theme with comic turn,
“Moxie” includes a lot to learn.
Not just for girls but guys also.
The more you know, the more you grow.
The major villain in Moxie just happens to be the most popular student at Parkton. Played smarmingly by Patrick Schwarznegger, this character makes your blood boil. He’s the good-looking football captain who thinks he’s god’s gift to women. And he gets his way by charming the principal (Marcia Gay Harden). Rating a girl as “Most Bangable” is something he’s proud of. But, of course, the principal refuses to deal with that kind of sexist behavior. How will she react if his more serious actions are uncovered?
It’s a pleasure watching how “Moxie” and her ‘zines result in a feminist movement uniting the girls at Rockport High School without her real identity being discovered. The enjoyable background music also adds to the fun -- and all’s well that ends well, as Shakespeare once wrote. Or was that Moxie?
(Released by Netflix and rated “PG-13” by MMPA.)