Moxie ending explained – does feminism prevail in the end?

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: March 3, 2021 (Last updated: January 26, 2024)
Moxie ending explained - does feminism prevail in the end?

This article contains huge spoilers for the Moxie ending.

In the toothless feminist coming-of-age film Moxie, a cartoonish high-school comprised entirely of broad stereotypes leads a young woman named Vivian, inspired both by her formerly rebellious mother and her new friend Lucy, to anonymously create and publish a zine that sends the school’s cliques into anarchy. Before long, it has also sent her social life spinning out of control, as well as enabling a serious revelation from a fellow student that might completely upend the school’s social dynamics going forward.

Let’s unpack it.

Predictably, the Moxie zine is an immediate success, courting membership subtly at first by encouraging supporters to draw symbols of hearts and stars on their bodies. Quickly, the zine morphs into an intersectional social movement, since it’s 2021 and you can’t just champion one cause at once, and it seriously looks as if Moxie might be able to facilitate real change by getting one of its members elected as the school’s athletic representative. This plan fails, though, which is a crushing blow to Moxie and a reminder that systemic change is hard to facilitate – I also get the sense that this was rigged by the school’s principal, to be honest, but I don’t believe it’s explicitly confirmed either way beyond her getting Mitchell a televised interview.

Nevertheless, it’s a harbinger of things to come, as things start to spiral out of control for Vivian in particular when her long-time best friend, Claudia, is expelled for refusing to rat her out. Vivian having started the zine in the first place is treated as something of a big secret, although I got the sense that most people figured it out way ahead of her climactic announcement, which is prompted at least in part by an anonymous note from a student who claims she was raped and has nobody else to turn to but Moxie.

The Moxie ending, then, is one of triumph, with Vivian announcing herself as the zine’s creator, prompting total support from everyone in a mass walk-out. Even her mother turns up, and Emma reveals herself as having written the note. Of course, it was Mitchell who raped her, and the revelation leads to him finally being taken to task for his behavior by Principal Shelly (Marcia Gay Harden), who frankly was part of the problem all along. Things turn out well for Vivian, then. All her personal relationships are restored, her feminist awakening is complete, she inadvertently solves a crime, and all is well at East Rockport High School.

Until the next election, anyway.

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