‘Poms’ is a comedy-drama film directed by Zara Hayes that revolves around a group of women residing in a retirement community who form a cheerleading club. In the process, they realize that it is never too late to follow your dreams, and age is just a number. Through their newfound passion, the women rediscover the spark of life. The movie is an inspiring and motivating story with layers of life lessons effortlessly packed in a light-hearted narrative. Therefore, viewers will surely be wondering whether the film is based on a true story or real events. If you are curious to find out the same, allow us to share all that we know in that regard.
Is Poms Based on a True Story?
‘Poms’ is partially based on a true story. Director Zara Hayes has revealed that the idea for the movie was inspired by various groups of older women who participated in cheerleading. She came across pictures of a group of elderly women who were part of a cheerleading squad. Hayes wished to make a documentary based on their lives, but upon doing some research, she learned of many such real cheerleading squads of older women.
One such cheerleading club comprising older women is the Sun City Poms, which was established in 1979. The group believes in fulfillment of life irrespective of age, which is also the movie’s central theme. While not a direct inspiration for the character of Martha (Diane Keaton), the story of Patricia Marie (Milbrath) Weber, a long-time member of the Sun City Poms, mirrors the character’s arc. Weber was a baton twirler during her high-school days and rediscovered her love for performing later in life. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 and sadly passed away on December 6, 2019, at the age of 88. Similarly, in the movie, Martha also has a cheerleading background and is diagnosed with cancer.
Hayes changed her plans of making a documentary after she realized the cinematic potential of the story about a group of women defying expectations and living life on their own terms. Therefore, to do justice to the stories of all the women she came across during her research, Hayes decided to make a feature film with a fictional narrative. The director did not wish to exaggerate the dancing abilities of the older women and it seems like she opted against using stunt doubles. She also used her experience of documentary filmmaking to ground the story in reality.
Hayes has noted that being born and brought up in the UK, she didn’t really understand the allure of cheerleading. She found the idea of women cheering for men a bit sexist. However, during her research, Hayes realized that what these women are doing is empowering in its own right. Ultimately, ‘Poms’ is a tribute to the many women who are living life to the fullest and proving that age is just a number. Although the narrative is fictional and plays within the ball-pit of a traditional underdog sports drama, the movie captures the zealous spirit of the various cheerleading groups like Sun City Poms that exist in America.
Read More: Where Was Poms (2019) Filmed?