Netflix's newest teen movie isn't a science fiction story like Stranger Things or a romantic comedy like The Kissing Booth. Moxie, directed by Amy Poehler, is the story of the shy Vivian Carter, who accidentally starts a feminist revolution in her school and makes a ton of friends along the way. But although Poehler directed and stars in the project, the book Netflix's Moxie is based on is actually by Houston-based author Jennifer Mathieu, who works as a high school English teacher.
Moxie is one of five novels Mathieu has published. Set in contemporary times, her protagonist, Vivian, is inspired by her mother's '90s riot grrl antics to start an old-fashioned anonymous zine that she passes out around her small Texas high school. In the film, Vivian is played by Hadley Robinson, who viewers might recognize from her slew of high-profile projects, including Amazon's Utopia, FX's Fosse/Vernon, and 2019's remake of Little Women. Poehler plays her former '90s riot grrl mother, Lisa, while Marcia Gay Harden is Principal Marlene Shelly, who has to deal with a feminist revolution within her school.
In an interview with Houston's Culture Map, Mathieu said the novel was very personal for her. "I love riot grrrl," she said, "I love feminism and stories that center on how hard it is to be a teenager. It's just been a great experience from start to finish."
Mathieu also said that unlike some authors, who can wind up disappointed by the changes made to their story in moving the medium from page and screen, she's a fan of how the film turned out.
"The big elements and scenes that were really important to me, that I loved writing, are all still in there," Mathieu said. "But [Poehler's] also added her own spin on it; she's changed some of the storylines ... But the way she put it all together works so beautifully, and I think it's the best kind of film adaptation — it honors the book, but it's its own special creation."