Amy Poehler's Teen Flick, 'Moxie,' Is Based on a Popular Novel By Jennifer Mathieu

Shannon Raphael - Author

Mar. 2 2021, Published 1:15 p.m. ET

Source: Netflix

SNL alum and comedian Amy Poehler's newest hit for Netflix is Moxie, which is all about girl power, intersectional feminism, and breaking down boundaries — all up against the background of a coming-of-age story.

The film, which Amy both directed and stars in, centers around 16-year-old Vivian Carter (Hadley Robinson). She's inspired to start an anonymous zine, Moxie, in her Oregon high school after she sees how a new student Lucy Hernandez (Alycia Pascual-Peña) speaks about misogyny.

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The zine is based on the rebellious experiences of Vivian's mom, Lisa Carter (Amy Poehler). As Vivian uncovers the various biases in her high school, she unites multiple cliques, clubs, and other groups with a common cause.

Vivian was inspired by her mom in the flick, but is the movie itself based on a true story? 

Source: Netflix
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Is 'Moxie' based on a true story? It's adapted from a book by Jennifer Mathieu.

Though viewers might be hoping that the teen empowerment drama was ripped from the headlines, Moxie is not based directly on a true story. The film was adapted from a 2017 Young Adult novel of the same name by Jennifer Mathieu. 

While some assumed that Jennifer created the concept as a reaction to the results of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, she shared that the book was fully completed beforehand.

"People think it was written in response to the election, but that wasn't the case," Jennifer shared, per the Houston Chronicle. "I wrote Moxie thinking Hillary Clinton was going to be president. By the time the election occurred, the book was done. I remember hearing questions when we were talking about the marketing of the book. 'Do you think we still need feminism?' It was heartbreaking on one hand, but on the other, it did something interesting with the way the book was received."

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As for the story of how the film came to be, that's inspirational in and of itself.

Director and star Amy Poehler did option the book before it was even published, but there was always a chance that the book would never be made into a film. However, after Amy read the book, she was inspired to get to work on the movie adaptation. 

Source: Netflix
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After all, the Parks and Rec alum was coming off of a positive directing experience with the 2019 Netflix film Wine Country, and she wanted to work behind the camera on another female-centered movie. 

The rest is history. 

Jennifer Mathieu loosely based the 'Moxie' characters on versions of herself.

The Moxie characters might not be based on real people, but author Jennifer Mathieu reflected her own experiences and her perspective into both Vivian and Lisa.

The 44-year-old mom created Lisa with her current perspective in mind, and she thought back to her own teen years when putting Vivian on the page. 

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In the '90s, Jennifer wrote her own feminist zine (like Vivian), and she was a fan of riot grrrl bands (Lisa is a former girl group member). Her passion for adding a feminist spin to a teen stories is why Moxie exists in the first place. 

"I love riot grrrl, I love feminism and stories that center on how hard it is to be a teenager," Jennifer told Houston's CultureMap. It's just been a great experience from start to finish."

In addition to Moxie, Jennifer has published four other Young Adult novels. She currently teaches English at Bellaire High School in Houston, Tex., and she sponsors the school's Feminist Club.

She even has a cameo in the film as a Rockford High chemistry teacher, so viewers should be on the lookout for her when they stream Moxie.

Moxie will be available to stream on Netflix beginning on March 3.

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