Ope! reviews Amy Poehler’s “Moxie” on Netflix

Out of our own Ope! curiosity, Roxanne and I watched the movie Moxie yesterday, a movie about feminism and zines, directed by Amy Poehler and currently on Netflix.

How’s that for a sentence rife with relativity?

The movie is not an earth-shattering film of epiphanic proportions, but it’s sweet, funny, problematic, sometimes over-reaching and sometimes selling itself short; basically, it’s a teenage girl, which is fitting, since the movie is set in an imagined Pacific Northwest high school. The school has glaring issues of pubescent Patriarchy, and these issues are triggered anew with the arrival of a “hot” new girl who takes issue with the school’s ability to be woke or not to be woke. Her point of view awakens the suppressed emotions of the movie’s main character, and one night, in a spark of rage-fueled creativity, she creates a zine from her mom’s old zines, while listening to the punk stylings of Bikini Kills (an actual 90s punk band from Olympia, Washington, an all-girl group who sparked the riot grrrl movement and, yes, published zines). And so a feminist revolution takes hold of the school, in all the messy clunky chaotic ways that creative anger and confrontation manifests.

Obviously, Roxanne and I have slipped past the youthful righteousness of the main characters, and our zines don’t have the same bold, urgent, and angry beauty of American girls. Regardless, there’s absolute delight in watching a whole movie about the space that exists around art and modern American girl power: the power of self-expression and the contagious energy that spills forth when you take risks. The power of letting go of what others want/expect and taking ownership of what you want. And the power of accepting all the messy imperfections that come with that goal.

Now, I’m going to give away a small bit of the movie here, so if you’re gonna watch, go watch, and then come back and read this.

The movie opens with the main character running through a forest with the implication that she’s being chased. It gets to a point where she stops and screams, but her scream is silent; she has no voice. At this moment, she wakes up, and the movie “begins”. Fast forward to the climax of the film and this scene is cut to again, ever so briefly, except her scream is full and loud and real. And while this moment isn’t overwrought in the film, it’s a cinematic representation of the whole damn point: women want to be heard.

And acknowledged, challenged, represented, and respected. Is there more? Yes, of course.
So we at Ope! clink our glasses and tip our hats to Amy Poehler. Good story, woman. And cheers to More.

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