Thursday, March 25, 2010

Wendy's Films of 2010 #57: But I'm a Cheerleader (1999)

I enjoy bright, colourful, campy things, so watching Jamie Babbit's But I'm a Cheerleader was a lot of fun. It's about Megan, a high school girl on the cheerleading squad who, without realizing, finds herself attracted to other girls. She is confronted by her parents and friends, who accuse her of listening to Melissa Etheridge and having posters of girls on her bedroom walls, and then sent to an over-the-top "rehab" camp called True Directions. With steps like "Admitting You're a Homosexual," "Rediscovering Your Gender Identity," and "Demystifying the Opposite Sex," the group of teenagers are supposed to learn to suppress their homosexuality and conform to the expectations of their heterosexual society. In opposition to True Directions are Larry and Lloyd, two ex-ex-gays who attempt to show the youngsters that they can live a happy life without suppressing their true identities.

What I really loved in this film were the little things: how the camp leader's hunky gay son would hit on the other guys, the way Megan and the surliest girl at camp begin to quietly and beautifully fall in love. The film takes what most consider a serious subject, and turns it into something entertaining, something to laugh at and enjoy. It blows things out of proportion to make them more understandable, making every small and intimate moment even more human.

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