Moxie is here! You have already been able to enjoy this incredible movie. As we discussed in our advanced review, Moxie! leaves no one indifferent and is incredibly brave. Now, it is time to analyze why we scream REVOLUTION, BABY!
Here we go!
As we already mentioned, at the beginning of the film, everyone’s roles are well defined. Vivian, the shyest girl in high school, witnesses how the asshole of team captain Mitchell stalks Lucy, simply because she dared to meet his gaze as an equal and challenge him. And, above all, she’s Black. That seems to bug him even more. At first, Vivian advises Lucy to just lower her head and move on, he will forget about her, but Lucy refuses. Why should she do it? Why should she bow her head to such an asshole, to anyone? That is no solution for her.
And when I grow up I want to be like Lucy, really.
I understand Vivian. I think we’ve all been Vivian at one time, right? Just enduring the insults, the taunts, the laughter, the bullying … just waiting for the bully to change his target. It was the only thing we could do. It was the only thing we thought we could do. Because no one was there for us. There was no teacher to back us up. There was no one to defend us. In fact, trying to ask for help made it even worse.
So you tried to go unnoticed as much as you could and then, when you got home, you cried with anger, with pain, with frustration. You cried until you had no tears left and you tried to compose yourself to start another day.
You felt like there was no choice. Lowering your head was the only thing you had, the only thing you could hold onto to survive the day to day. But Lucy is not like that. Lucy says, “fuck him. Fuck them!” And I admire her for that.
However, Lucy soon finds out that the system is not on her side. The director, a woman, tries to downplay what is happening because oh my! Mitchell is the captain of the team and he is going to get a scholarship to college and we don’t want to ruin his bright future for him. And the girls he harasses, well, screw them.
It’s horrible when women aren’t always allies. No, sometimes they are our own worst enemies. Women should support each other. Always. Enough trying to step on each other. Enough of letting other women suffer. Enough lowering our head. And this is precisely what Moxie is about!
How could it be otherwise, Lucy is not the only one that Mitchell and his friends harass. They make degrading lists about their partners. And there is one girl in particular, Kaitlynn, who they believe has the right to ogle or touch simply because she wears a skirt and shows cleavage. But for everyone, for them, it’s her fault. She is the one who should not show cleavage. She is the one who should not wear shorts or a skirt. She is asking for it. Poor boys, they didn’t do anything wrong …
This disgusts Vivian as much as me and she decides to fight back. She decides to create Moxie! to unite all those women who are suffering in their flesh the misogyny, discrimination and daily harassment. At first it is a small thing. She just leaves a few brochures in the bathroom, almost thinking that no one is going to read it, that no one would care. But they do.
This small movement, this small moment of rebellion, lights the spark of the revolution. Suddenly, all the girls are allied. It doesn’t matter if they are more popular or less, if they had not spoken before. They are united. They are an unstoppable group. Part of a whole. They are sisters. They all begin to stand up to the establishment and begin to be aware that they do not have to lower their heads, that they have a voice and that they must use it to shout: FUCK THEM!
So all the girls become one. With its distinctive brand of hearts and stars in hand. And they fight, they fight for Lucy when Mitchell comes back to harass her, they fight for Kaitlynn when they force her to change her shirt, humiliating her in the middle of class, they fight for the entire women’s sports team, much better than the men’s but completely forgotten, they fight for their captain to receive the recognition she deserves. They fight against the entire school and against society. They fight against the world and against everything that is established.
And they have allies. Their teacher and Seth, a super cute boy who is in love with Vivian and just admires and respects her so much … it shows that he is on her side and that he is not like Mitchell and the others. And let’s face it, he wins our hearts from second one.
However, this union of all the girls makes Vivian find herself increasingly estranged from her best friend, Claudia. They did everything together, they were always together and, suddenly, Moxie! appeared and the only thing Claudia knows is that Vivian hides things from her and is hardly with her. And the only thing Vivian knows is that Claudia disagrees with Moxie! And, for her, that’s so … wrong. She can’t believe that Claudia is part of the problem. She can’t believe that Claudia agrees with … them or that she has chosen to lower her head again.
But nothing is as it seems.
When we grow up, we inevitably choose a path and that leads us to meet new people and leave some people behind. But your best friend will always be your best friend. You can be apart, not see each other for months, even a year, but when you talk again, when you see each other again, it is as if that time of separation has not passed. That happens with Vivian and Claudia.
Vivian has created something huge that gives hope to many women and it is normal for her to get carried away a bit … but that doesn’t mean that she forgets about Claudia and should make it clear to her. As for Claudia, she doesn’t agree with them, it’s just not the same for her. Her mother is strict because to ensure that her daughter can study and have a future, she is sacrificing twice as much as any white mother.
So Claudia cannot afford an expulsion or a negative note on her academic record because it would be like throwing away her mother’s sacrifices. And her mother may be too strict, yes (and indeed she should be more liberal and relax, especially in regards to the clothes her daughter is wearing, but her attitude is just another sign of the stigma that society has on women), but it’s because she doesn’t want her daughter to waste her future. Of course, some fights are worth the risk, but only someone privileged like Vivian who doesn’t have these problems, that doesn’t even know that problems exist, can speak and think like that.
That is why I admire Claudia so much for being there, for explaining very clearly to Vivian what is happening and I love it when Vivian realizes her mistake and they both forgive each other for everything. This is true friendship.
Because Claudia helps. She can’t do it as actively as the others but she does it her way and she’s just there. And that is too much already. Every grain of sand counts.
That’s why it hurts so much when to finish off Moxie! the horrible director expels Claudia, thinking that she is, in fact, Moxie!, Claudia is the scapegoat, the director has someone to blame and she blames her. Claudia’s worst nightmares come true. This was precisely what she could not afford. An expulsion means that her future is cut short and that all the sacrifice of her mother has been for nothing.
So Vivian is in a quandary. She says that she is the creator of Moxie! and she either endures expulsion or lets Claudia bear the blame. It takes Vivian longer than we’d like to decide what to do, so much so that the word coward begins to hover over her head. Is Vivian a coward? I don’t think there is a simple answer.
Of course, as Claudia’s best friend and knowing her situation, Vivian shouldn’t have allowed this to happen. And that would be the behavior of an adult. But we forget that Vivian is a teenager who in a moment of rebellion created something that became something huge, a revolution and it has gotten out of hand. She doesn’t know how to handle it because she is afraid of the consequences.
That is why she is so angry that she even accuses Seth of being a misogynist and wanting to mark her as her property and treats her mother’s boyfriend badly. Because that’s what fear does to us, it makes us angry at everyone else when in reality we are angry at ourselves.
So yeah, in that moment Vivian acted like a coward (which is not the same as being one) because she is still a scared girl. And we all would have behaved like her. Does this excuse her? No, of course not. But makes her silence more understandable.
The best thing about mistakes is that we all learn from them. Vivian realizes that staying silent longer was a mistake. And she learns that when she acts, she must take responsibility for the consequences, whatever they are. She created Moxie! and the idea was precisely that they all raise their voices, not hide their heads as she is doing right now.
So Vivian stands in front of everyone in an incredibly powerful scene and she confesses to all of them that she is the creator of Moxie! but all women in there are Moxie! girls. Moxie! is absolutely about all the woman who have come together for a common purpose. Who have fought. All those who have raised their voices … and those who have not yet. Because a girl asked Moxie! for help, a girl who didn’t dare to speak up until now. Emma.
Let’s talk about Emma. She is the head cheerleader. She apparently has it all. She is popular, the girls follow her, they want to be like her and everything seems idyllic. But, as Josephine Langford told us, you should never judge a book by its cover. She is far from having everything and being happy.
She doesn’t get involved in Moxie!, she sees all the girls join together and she watches them from afar, even eavesdropping on them, indecisive … but she doesn’t dare to take the step because she is not sure that anything is going to really change. That taking that step can help her with something. But Moxie! becomes stronger and stronger and more important, increasingly defies the establishment and, perhaps, perhaps they can help her.
But even she doesn’t dare to show her face. What happened to her is something terrible and everyone is clear who she is. She doesn’t want to go public. Why? Simply because she feels ashamed that she was raped. That Mitchell raped her. And it’s horrible and unfair because she shouldn’t be ashamed of anything. That rapist pig deserves punishment and ridicule. Not her. She survived. She got up. She is stronger than that son of bitch.
So when Vivian confesses who she is in front of everyone, Emma finds her voice and raises it, high up. So that everyone knows that Mitchell is a rapist (who dared to make fun of her even more with that list, giving others permission to do the same) and that she is a survivor. And all the women scream, with all their souls. Their voices. They roar. And it’s a scene where Josephine and the entire cast bring us to tears. Because it is a tremendously powerful scene, tremendously significant, and the perfect way to end this wonderful and brave film.
I don’t want to not mention Seth, who doesn’t hesitate to tattoo Vivian’s name, because he is not ashamed to say that his heart belongs to her. And we already melt completely.
Moxie! it is a film that dares everything. Absolutely everything. It is not just a film about women supporting women, about sisterhood or feminism. It is also about racism, harassment, survival, friendship and love, both romantic and self-love. All these women are brave. Tremendously brave.
It is a necessary film, especially in these times. It criticizes every aspect of our life that is wrong. It is a manifesto against misogyny and against racism. It is a love letter to all women and teaches us that we are not alone, even when we think we are. It teaches us that things can be changed and that we must never, ever, lower our heads in front of anyone. That we should be proud to be women.
It teaches little girls that they will be the future and women of today that they have to roar. Roar really loud and loud and never settle. It teach us that we are survivors and tremendously strong. It teaches us that no one has the right to harass us, to make fun of us, to assault us physically or sexually, nor to discriminate against us.
The message of the film is powerful because that is precisely what it shows: our own power. The power of women and the power of our union. Because alone we are unstoppable and together we are like an earthquake. Like a revolution.
In addition, it contains clear social criticism showing the differences between the bosom of a white family and the bosom of a POC family, because POC women have to fight twice as much to achieve the same thing and three times more to maintain it.
This movie is a complete yes. The book should be read in schools, colleges and universities and the film should be shown every year in the same places. I wish I had been so brave when I was in high school. I wish I had been a Moxie girl.
No more lowering your head. No more staying quiet.
Find your voice and scream.