Movie review by
Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media
Poms Movie Poster Image
Cheers for saucy comedy with multigenerational appeal.
  • PG-13
  • 2019
  • 91 minutes

Parents say

age 18+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 6 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Strongest messages: You're never too old to pursue your dreams, and it's important to have the courage of your convictions -- trusting your own judgment and trusting others to support you. Celebrates value of female friendship and demonstrates how good friends support each other. Promotes courage, perseverance, teamwork.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Martha plans to live out the rest of her life in private after cancer diagnosis, but Sheryl encourages her to fulfill a lifelong dream while having fun. They form a racially diverse cheerleading squad of senior citizens who support each other. Rival high school cheering team is also diverse, and the teen girls have realistically fit bodies rather than unrealistic "Hollywood"-type figures. A teen character defies ageist attitudes. Another is remorseful for her mean girl behavior, takes steps to rectify it.


A rock is thrown on the car of a negative character. A main character receives a serious health diagnosis (cancer) and suffers physically (vomiting, etc.). Rival groups demonstrate competitive attitudes with some sexual putdowns -- e.g., "Shouldn't you be giving some football player a hand job?" A man calls a teen girl a "slut," and the older women rally around her; the man apologizes and backs down.


Quite a bit of innuendo, but not in sense of sexual enticement; most (though not all) is subtle. A teacher introduces a sex-ed video about STDs. Punchlines include words "erection," "prophylactic," "rape" (used as a misunderstood word), and sleeping with a person of power to win something. One older woman is particularly interested in finding sexual partners, but nothing sexual actually occurs. A teen has a crush.


Fairly frequent cursing, including multiple uses of "s--t" from both adults and teens. Also many variations of "ass" ("badass," "grown-ass," "a--hole," etc.), "bitch," "boobies," "bulls--t," "d--khead," "goddamn," "hell," "slut," "screw it," and "whore," as well as "Jesus Christ" and "oh my God" (as exclamations). One character flips the bird.


Subaru Outback and Pabst Blue Ribbon used to demonstrate character traits. Google search engine. Champion and LG are seen in the background. A "bad" character drives a BMW.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink wine and beer in social situations; a woman says she's happier because she's been drinking more often. Bottle of wine given as a gift. Uptight senior citizen loosens up and says she's going to smoke "reefer cigarettes." The "morning after" scene following a high school party implies drinking by showing sleeping teens and Solo cups, but no bottles or consumption is seen.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Poms is a crowd-pleasing friendship comedy starring Diane Keaton as a woman dying from cancer who lives out her long-lost dream of becoming a cheerleader. The humor is sharp and female focused; it often revolves around one character's matter-of-fact sexual assertiveness and the Bring It On-style rivalry between groups of older and younger cheerleaders. Expect to hear quite a bit of language, both swearing ("ass," "bitch," "s--t") and sexual innuendo ("erection," "prophylactic"). Characters also drink and talk about "reefer," and there are exchanges that include sexual putdowns ("slut"). The cancer story isn't handled heavily, but Keaton's character is shown vomiting frequently to remind viewers that the disease is taking its toll. It's worth noting that these women aren't presented through a Hollywood lens: Everyone looks authentic, with a diverse cast and various realistic body types. Other messages include the idea that you're never too old to pursue your dreams and that it's important to have the courage of your convictions; themes also touch on teamwork, courage, and perseverance. With its strong girl power vibe, it's a film about being old that's also likely to entertain those who are young, thanks to the teen characters (Alisha Boe, Charlie Tahan) who get pulled into helping train the older women.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMaxwellW May 12, 2019

Ya just gotta see it!

Great movie about ageing & still achieving your goals & dreams.
My eyes were moist at the predictable end, I will see it again.
There is no lang... Continue reading
Parent of a 9 and 11-year-old Written byLeslie C. May 9, 2019

Innapropriate for families

Too much talk about erections, boobies and death.

Don't waste your money. Language is BLASPHEMOUS too.
Teen, 13 years old Written byThat Kid 20 May 18, 2019

Definitely Not For Younger Kids

I saw this movie with my friends, it has a fair bit of swearing in it. It’s a funny movie. But it’s not for younger kids, it has adult situations. If you do see... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old May 11, 2019

Great, but...

This movie is INCREDIBLE with a great theme but there is lots of language and raunchy humor. 12 is the bare minimum age for this movie.

What's the story?

In POMS, as Martha (Diane Keaton) begins to make friends in her new retirement community, her new bestie, Sheryl (Jacki Weaver), encourages her to achieve a long-lost dream of becoming a cheerleader. Together -- and despite Martha's cancer diagnosis -- they start a senior cheer club, recruit a group of other senior women, and set their sights on entering a competition. But when the only other seniors in the competition are high school seniors, the retirees realize they're going to have to give it their all.

Is it any good?

This comedy will have audiences rooting for the cheerleaders, who are played by a veteran cast of comedic actors and form a winning team -- and a funny film. "Codger comedies" that reach down and appeal to younger generations have proven to be a winning formula since Going in Style and The Golden Girls, but lately it's been harder to find laughs that bridge the age gap. However, Keaton's wonderful wit turns prickly cancer patient Martha into a funny, sympathetic character that the audience instantly gets behind. And Weaver elevates the "naughty grandma" stereotype by playing Sheryl with a sweet earnestness and a feisty spirit. Even the "Southern Belle" HOA president, as played by Celia Weston, feels less Cruella de Vil and more like that one control freak you can find in every neighborhood. They're characters we've seen a million times and that are often played with a broad goofiness, but these actresses (as well as Pam Grier and Rhea Perlman) bring out their humanity and make them real

There's an authenticity that plays beneath the surface of what, in other hands, might be a "zany" film with a ludicrous plot. Credit the decade of experience that writer-director Zara Hayes has making documentaries about women like Billie Jean King, Dian Fossey, and Bangladeshi garment industry workers. That realism definitely comes into play in the film's casting: The high school cheerleaders don't look like Victoria's Secret models, and the senior cheerleaders don't have fish lips: The baby fat and the wrinkles are all present, and it's magnificent. This is a movie that walks the walk, given that its messages are about not trying to escape the inevitable: Just love yourself for who you are, and enjoy your life for what it is. The combination of Hayes, Keaton, and their fab ensemble (including 93-year-old Dorothy Steel, who elicits laugh-out-loud moments every time her security guard trainee is on camera) make for a comedy about retirees that will likely leave everyone grinning.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the Sun Springs cheer squad overcomes social media shaming in Poms. Can this be applied to other instances of cyberbullying through embarrassment? What are other ways to deal with it?

  • How do the women of the cheer squad exemplify courage? How can you overcome self-doubt? How can you squelch the doubters in your life?

  • How do the women of the pom squad demonstrate perseverance and teamwork? Why are those important character strengths?

  • How do you feel about the way the film represents both older women and teen girls? How does it compare to what you've seen in other movies/TV shows? What message does it send about body image?

  • What's the importance of friendship in your life? How can you be a supportive friend?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love comedies

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

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