Martha (Dianne Keaton) moves into Sun Springs Retirement Village to spend her last days there. She’s dying from cancer, but she doesn’t want anyone to know. Sun Springs is run by the officious and small-minded Vicki (Celia Weston), who insists that all residents belong to a club of their choice. Martha doesn’t want to join any of the existing craft clubs, choirs or golfing clubs so, with her fun-loving neighbour Sheryl (Jacki Weaver), she forms a cheerleading club.
Vicki and her narrow circle object to the cheerleading club on the grounds of immorality, but Martha and Sheryl manage to find six other women who are prepared to flout the village’s rules. Most of these women have mobility issues, but they go on to compete against much younger girls, to the astonishment and enjoyment of audiences.
Death and dying; aging; ageism
Poms has some verbal and psychological violence in the form of bullying. It also has some physical violence. For example:
- A high school cheerleading squad makes fun of Martha’s group in a rather nasty way. They video Martha’s group’s poor performance and post it on Facebook. At one point, one of the girls tells them to ‘break a hip’. Sheryl replies with ‘get pregnant’.
- One of the ladies, Helen, falls during the performance and breaks her ankle. The younger girls laugh at this.
- Helen has a son called Tom who controls her finances. He gets angry with Martha and Sheryl and refuses to let Helen take part. He’s worried about the money, not Helen’s health. Sheryl stands up to him and yells at him.
- Sheryl smashes Tom’s car window with a rock.
- Helen gives Tom ‘the finger’.
Poms has many sexual references. For example:
- Sheryl says, ‘Lord knows there’s not enough erections around here’.
- The security officer asks whether somebody is being sexually assaulted.
- Sheryl (a relief teacher) shows a video to the students about sexually transmitted diseases. She says, ‘Sex can be fun, but you have to be careful’. The video shows couples under the sheets.
- When asked why they didn’t get first place in a competition, one of the women says, ‘The winner had sex with the judge’.
- Someone says, ‘Anyone who wants to be a cheerleader at their age is either a slut or a whore or probably both’.
- Someone says, ‘Shouldn’t you be giving a football player a hand job?’
- Sheryl says she had chlamydia.
- Sheryl says she was caught handing out prophylactics in the girls’ bathroom.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Poms shows some use of substances. For example:
- Characters drink alcohol in various places – at home, in lounges, in clubs and at parties.
- A woman says she’s going to start smoking reefers.
Nudity and sexual activity
There’s no nudity or sexual activity in Poms.
The following products are displayed or used in Poms: Sprite.
There is some coarse language in Poms.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Poms is a comedy that shows that older people can still have fun and enjoy themselves. It challenges the perception of old people sitting around, doing nothing and living a dull life. It also challenges narrow-minded concepts in a humorous way. Because of its subject matter, however, it isn’t recommended for children under 13 years.
The main messages from this movie are that you can still enjoy yourself as you grow old and life doesn’t stop when you reach a certain age.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include friendship, teamwork, collaboration and courage.
This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues like:
- the controlling behaviour of Alice’s husband and Helen’s son
- the financial abuse that some older people suffer
- the consequences of ageism.