Mostly known for her work in front of the camera, Amy Poehler stepped behind the camera in 2019 to direct the ensemble comedy ‘Wine Country.” When asked what advice she’d give to other women who may be hesitating to start directing she said, “Do it even if you don’t think you’re ready… a lot of women wait until they think they’re really really ready for something. And I’ve worked with a lot of guys who aren’t ready for what they’re doing.” In the early 1990s, Poehler studied acting and improv at Chicago’s Second City and ImprovOlympic before co-founding the improvisational-comedy troupe Upright Citizens Brigade and cutting her teeth as a writer and performer on Saturday Night Live. Along with her extensive writing and acting credits, she has also served as an executive producer for many female-led shows including Difficult People, Russian Doll, Broad City, and Parks and Recreation. Her latest directorial effort ‘Moxie’ debuted on Netflix this week. Up next, Poehler is in the midst of filming a documentary about the romantic and creative partnership of comedy legends Lucille Ball & Desi Arnaz.
For her second feature film as a director, Poehler has moved into the young adult genre with an adaptation of the novel Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu. The result is a poignant coming-of-age dramedy starring Hadley Robinson as Vivian, a shy teenage girl who finds inspiration in her mother’s rebellious teenage past. Poehler plays her mother, Lisa, who in the early 90s was active in the Riot Grrrl subculture. Vivian and best friend Claudia (Lauren Tsai) are happy to just keep their heads down and coast through her senior year of high school until new girl Lisa (Alycia Pascual-Peña) opens their eyes to their complacency in the victimization of other girls. When Vivian finds her mother’s old feminist zines, she decides to strike back against the rampant sexist culture at her high school. The zine – titled Moxie – criticizes the casual misogyny of the boys at her school and even ousts a sexual predator in the making. Vivian and Claudia’s relationship is strained as Vivian moves further out of her shell, and even tests the waters of dating, but ultimately the girls find strength in each other and learn the might of a united voice. Get your sharpie out, draw some hearts and stars on your hands, power up Netflix, and you might just learn a thing or two about grrrl power.