“You were dying yesterday … You were dying last week … in the meantime, you should be just dancing your ass off.”
This quote from Sheryl (played perfectly by the fantastic Jacki Weaver) sums up Zara Hayes’s latest film, Poms which is in theaters everywhere. Poms reminds us all that there is nothing ridiculous about living out our dreams even in the face incredible odds. This film is dedicated to the men and women throughout the World who have or continue to battle Cancer. This film speaks to us all because everyone reading this article likely knows someone who is in the fight against or is continuing to slay the big “C.” In my case, it’s my Aunt and Mother. Bravery doesn’t even sum up what they continue to overcome. However, what happens when someone draws a line in the sand and says enough. What happens when someone decides to live their life for however long that may be rather than be sick. That struggle is what at the heart of the film.
Martha (Diane Keaton) initially heads into a retirement community to waste away and die as she is facing a grim cancer diagnosis. Her neighbor Sheryl encourages her to get out and experience the community (not knowing why Martha is in this dark place). Realizing that she has nothing to lose, Martha decides to open up Cheer Club and Sun Springs Retirement Community much to the shock of many of the Sun Springs members. Their opinions matter little, and the experience of cheering means everything to Martha and the rest of the squad.
What I loved seeing was no matter stage Martha was in her battle with Cancer she didn’t let that ruin her mood. Even while throwing up constantly, her focus was getting to live out that dream. The ensemble provides various comedic beats during the narrative. While Jacki Weaver has been receiving a ton of praise for her portrayal of Sheryl, Rhea Pearlman has a sequence in the film which made me laugh the hardest. Diane Keaton played Martha with the perfect balance of edginess and vulnerability. There’s one scene with Weaver’s character that was exceptional and brought mostly everyone in the screening to tears.
Never would I have imagined that this film would touch me the way that it is. I know reception for this release has been mixed, but for my money, Poms is touching and uplifting about taking control of your life even when your life seems as if it’s veering out of control.