Updated: Apr 23
I was introduced to American actress Amy Poehler five years ago when attracted to her bright pink biography on a holiday in Italy. It was one of the first books I laughed so much at, that I forgot all my surroundings, and wanted to instantly be one of her best friends. This year she's directed a new film called 'Moxie', released on Netflix, about a female teenager who forms a cult to rebel against sexism in her school. After a week of boiling anger from women across the country towards our power and reputation from men on the streets, it was sure to unite many audiences to depict social issues.
Hadley Robinson takes the leading role in this with such maturity. Unlike many other high school flicks, where you're left eye rolling at the slightly annoying or winey teenage protagonist, she keeps her cool between the school gates. The start of the drama throws you in, introducing Vivian's side kick and best friend Claudia (Lauren Tsai) who keep their heads down sharing lunch boxes between breaks . The music tracks are young and engaging and the slow motion shots draw you into various stereotypes around the school, letting you quickly depict the twisted 'ranking' from the boys towards the ladies.
The messages are strong throughout, conveying misogyny towards the pupils, and Amy's wonderful casting exaggerates these topics beautifully. Lucy, Saved By the Bell star Alycia Pascual-Peña, is the newest girl flicking her cornrows to highlight assault from popular front man Mitchell (Patrick Schwarzenegger). If you compare the narrative against Disney's 2006 High School Musical, then you can clearly see a future for women, instead of a world revolving around male football stars.
If you're seen 'Park and Recreation' then you know of Amy's love for humour, which she seeps into her directing with Vivians and Seth's relationship. Their modern day flirting, and support for each others interests, is so humbling to see in a teenage drama. The fact her own passions are put first instead of her drive to find a boyfriend, makes it a reassuring image for young girls who believe being single isn't acceptable in society.
There need to be a layer of comedy to lighten spirits, to a certain extent, when exploiting uncomfortable topics towards viewers. Marcia Gay Harden plays the principal of the school, who chooses to ignore the ladies allegations, as it will put the schools reputation on the line and perhaps jeopardise her job. In other words, she can't be bothered to investigate. Her lines are so radical, that you're left shocked by her ridiculousness. This didn't need to be so dramatic and almost demoralised the girl's confidence. The slapstick tone from the principal defeated the whole message of the tale and brought the film's energy down.
There's been a huge gap in the market for a modern day film expressing harassment in school. In light of other news this week, it's a timely expressive piece that get's your feet on the ground, supporting voices from every corner of the room. Yes it's got some cheesy underlining scenes, but what teenage drama hasn't. Amy has formed a punching piece that ties together women and men to address situations differently in school, and be part of a team to educate the new generation, instead of causing segregation.