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  • Writer's pictureGareth Bradwick

Moxie ★★

Amy Poehler

Starring Hadley Robinson, Lauren Tsai, Alycia Pascual-Peña, Nico Hiraga, Josie Totah

While it's difficult sometimes to truly appreciate a drama aimed at teenagers, with distance can come an understanding of the nuances at play and a fresh understanding of the relationships and ties between adults and adolescents. As the themes change with time though, it's sometimes difficult to judge whether the issues on show are cutting edge or preachy.

However, as Moxie moves through its story there's a sense that there's something not quite right. Hadley Robinson plays Vivian Carter; an 11th grader who comes to realise her school is prejudice against women when a new starter, Lucy (Alycia Pascual Peña) is harassed by the school jock.

The movie generally plays out like an acceptable, fairly low budget teen drama. The acting by all involved is good and there are funny pieces to be had, although not in the ironic way that Mean Girls does so brilliantly. While all of this is fine and watchable, the problem really lies in the story itself.

For a movie about diversity, equality and togetherness, the choice of protagonist is ill-judged. Lucy would have been a much more intriguing character to start the Moxie magazine and would have avoided the long, outdated white saviour trope. Most of the teachers in the school seem complicit in the prejudice which feels untrue and generally there is a sense that the plot takes a one-dimensional view of the issues it is trying to cover.

Unfortunately, Amy Poehler couldn't save this one either. She has a good screen presence as always and provided some of the grounded anchor that the story needed but it wasn't quite enough.

On the whole Moxie's heart is in the right place and is watchable. However, it lacks the nuance of many that have gone before it.

Moxie available now on Netflix

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