Based on the novel of the same name, ‘Moxie’ is a teen-drama film directed by Saturday Night Live alumna Amy Poehler (‘Wine Country’). The film revolves around Vivian Carter (Hadley Robinson), a smart but reclusive 16-year-old who ends up secretly leading a feminist revolution at her school. The book is widely regarded as an important entry in the discussion about modern feminism, intersectionality, and inherently patriarchal institutions empowering what is essentially rape culture. The book is also a coming-of-age tale for its main character. Poehler’s involvement made the project more dynamic without shifting the focus from the themes it deals with. Here is everything you need to know about the film’s ending. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Moxie Plot Synopsis
The film begins as Vivian starts attending the 11th grade. An introvert, she wants to get through the rest of her time at Rockport High without drawing unnecessary attention towards herself. Her best friend Claudia (Lauren Tsai) seems to be cut from the same cloth (both were designated INTJ personality types on the Myers-Briggs test). The girls have been inseparable since they were children and are now planning to attend UC Berkeley together.
Their quiet school life plan is rattled by the arrival of the outspoken new girl, Lucy (Alycia Pascual-Peña). When Vivian sees that the school’s football star Mitchell Wilson (Patrick Schwarzenegger) sexually harassing Lucy, Vivian genuinely feels uncomfortable. With all her good intention, she approaches Lucy to tell her to keep her head down and almost defends Mitchell’s reprehensible and predatory actions by calling them “annoying.” But Lucy is confident and assertive enough to reject the idea of being docile.
This encounter forces Vivian to take a long hard look at herself and be honest about her own shortcomings. Inspired by her mother’s (Poehler) past as the 1990s’ punk rock Riot Grrrl, she sets up a feminist zine, calling it Moxie after the archaic word the school’s principal, Marlene Shelly (Marcia Gay Harden), loves using. Published anonymously, Moxie soon comes to represent the anger and frustration that female students feel toward a considerable portion of their male counterparts.
Likely for the first time in her school life, Vivian finds herself as part of a social circle comprised of Moxie admirers. She also starts a relationship with Seth (Nico Hiraga), a proud ally and initially the only person to know the truth about Moxie. However, Vivian’s relationship with Claudia begins to suffer, as both of them start to feel that they increasingly have fewer things in common with each other.
Moxie Ending: Is Vivian Revealed as the Creator and Publisher of Moxie?
Yes, by the end of the film, Vivian is revealed to be Moxie’s creator and publisher. At first, she sets up the zine to unload her own disappointment at the system with which Shelly runs the school. Vivian correctly feels that the school’s policies are unfairly tilted in favor of male athletes like Mitchell. This has given these boys the idea that they will not face any repercussions, no matter what they do. Shelly’s constant attempts to suppress any voices of dissent have only emboldened their behavior.
Vivian started publishing Moxie to change this status quo and bring about a feminist revolution. Her initial doubts about how successful she will be are quickly erased when Moxie receives an overwhelmingly positive response. In the first issue, she goes after the most deserving and obvious target, Mitchell. Although no one finds out until the end of the film that she is the publisher, Moxie becomes a self-sustaining movement, bringing her close to other female students at her school, including Lucy.
The girls put forth Kiera (Sydney Park), the captain of the girl’s soccer team, as a nominee for the Student-Athlete Ambassador against Mitchell. The girls know that most students dislike Mitchell, and they are pretty much assured of their victory. Vivian even shows up with a bottle of champagne on the announcement day. However, before the election, Mitchell gives a speech to the students, claiming that he has been hounded by Moxie, and warns others that they can be next. His strategy works like a charm, winning Mitchell the most votes. Vivian realizes that she is probably fighting a losing battle and starts lashing out at everyone around her.
Ultimately, Vivian regains her sense of purpose after receiving the anonymous note from a victim of rape. It empowers her to write in bold red letters the word “Rapeport” in front of the school and later organize a walk-out. Outside, finally free of all her fears, she declares that she is Moxie. Vivian’s proud announcement encourages others to declare their truths. Emma Cunningham (Josephine Langford) takes the podium and reveals that Mitchell raped her. Although the film doesn’t show it, the future doesn’t look bright for the former golden boy of Rockport High. He is seemingly set to spend most of his life behind bars.
Do Vivian and Claudia Reconcile?
Yes, the two friends reconcile after Vivian’s speech. When they lose the award vote, it is the most depressing moment of Vivian’s life. She feels truly lonely as she doesn’t even have Claudia’s support, who was suspended from school after taking the blame for Moxie. The film acknowledges the privilege of white feminists who can do things that women belonging to minority groups often can’t. But no matter how angry one becomes with their friends, the real ones always find a way to reunite. And this is what happens with Vivian and Claudia.
Read More: Where Was Moxie Filmed?