Poms Parent Guide
Laugh out loud humor mixed with poignant drama and marred by sexual innuendo.
Parent Movie Review
Poms’ PG-13 rating is completely irrelevant because only one criteria really matters in determining the audience for this film: Do you need reading glasses? If not, you are probably too young for it. But, if the answer is yes, and if you are also female, you are the target demographic for Poms. And you will probably have a whale of a good time at the show.
The story is centered around Martha (Diane Keaton), a retired schoolteacher who has decided not to have any further treatment for her ovarian cancer. She downsizes from her big city apartment and moves to a retirement community in Georgia to die. (“Have the time of your life for the rest of your life” is the community motto.) But Martha’s neighbor, spunky redhead Sheryl (Jacki Weaver) is too full of life for anyone nearby to simply die quietly. Sheryl is an irresistible force and thanks to her persistence the two become friends. Martha shares her thwarted adolescent desire to be a cheerleader and Sheryl encourages her to try again. Since she literally has nothing to lose, Martha runs with it and decides to start a cheerleading club for the women in the seniors’ community.
Of course, every cheerleading movie has mean girls, and the mature cheerleaders have to face them, both the officious administrator at their community and the snarky teen cheer squad from the local high school. And, like in every sports film, the women face challenges but these are centered around their aging bodies – as are many of the laughs.
And there are plenty of laughs in Poms. The screening I attended was frequently punctuated by loud bursts of laughter from the audience. But this film is more than a string of one-liners about getting old. It’s also a drama with heart that derives a great deal of poignancy from its sympathetic depiction of its characters’ fears and courage. Diane Keaton’s performance is competent, although it feels like she’s reprising the same character she’s played before (Book Club, anyone?). The real light in this film is Jacki Weaver, whose bittersweet portrayal of the relentlessly upbeat Sheryl is both funny and touching. Sadly, the other women on the cheer squad don’t get a lot of screen time and few have developed backstories. They may feel like stock characters but they are portrayed with charm and grace and Rhea Perlman, in particular stands out as Alice, a timid woman finally freed from a controlling marriage (and suspected of killing her husband). The bond that develops between the women – and with the teenage girl they recruit as a coach - is a valuable reminder of how critically important friendship and community are for all of us.
I’m not going to discuss potential areas of parental concern for Poms because no teenager is ever going to watch it unless they are having movie night with Grandma. But the only area that will likely concern most potential viewers is related to language. There is no explicit sexual content but there are approximately twenty swear words and one sexual hand gesture. The bigger issue revolves around sexual innuendo: there are frequent uses of crass terms for women and slang terms for male and female anatomy, and repeated brief mentions of sexual activity and sexually transmitted infections. This is particularly disappointing because it prevents me from giving three cheers for Poms. But I will definitely give it two.Directed by Zara Hayes. Starring Diane Keaton, Pam Grier, and Charlie Tahan. Running time: 91 minutes. Theatrical release May 10, 2019. Updated April 18, 2020
Rating & Content Info
Why is Poms rated PG-13? Poms is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for some language/sexual references
Violence: A woman is suspected of killing her husband because he was too controlling. An elderly woman gets injured in a cheerleading performance and breaks her foot. A woman is trapped in her home when her bossy son won’t let her leave. Her friends break the windshield of his car and help her leave the house.
Sexual Content: A character makes a joke about erections. There is mention of rape but it turns out to be mistaken. A character talks about having had sexually transmitted infections. She teaches teenagers about STIs. She mentions that she was handing out contraceptives in the high school girls’ washroom. A brief clip from an educational film about STIs is seen. A woman makes a joke about “getting laid”. A character jokes about pole dancing. A woman uses a slang term for a type of sexual activity. A woman tells a teenager to get pregnant. There are repeated references to women’s breasts.
Profanity: A man calls a teenage girl a slut. Similar derogatory and misogynist terms for women are used elsewhere in the film. Slang terms for women’s breasts are used frequently and occasionally for male genitalia. There are fewer than 20 profanities in the movie, with seven scatological curses, six terms of deity, five anatomical references, and a few minor swear words. A woman makes a sexual hand gesture.
Alcohol / Drug Use: A sick woman takes appropriate prescription medication. A woman says she is going to try marijuana. Characters drink beer while playing poker. Women drink alcohol in social settings. Teenagers are shown sleeping or passed out after a party.
Page last updated April 18, 2020
Poms Parents' Guide
The elderly are often treated as though they have nothing left to contribute. But this is not borne out by history. Winston Churchill was 66 when he became Prime Minister of England in the depths of World War II. John Glenn returned to space at the age of 77 when he rode the space shuttle Discovery. Grandma Moses started painting at age 76 and went on to become a world famous artist. Nelson Mandela became President of South Africa at 75. Laura Ingalls Wilder published her first “Little House” book when she was in her 60s. So, why do we dismiss the contributions of the elderly in our society?
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Gilead by Marilynne Robinson is an elegiac tribute to a man’s life.
The most recent home video release of Poms movie is August 6, 2019. Here are some details…
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