3 Stars – Wholesome
Someone once said that growing old isn’t for sissies. Some of us relish the thought of spending more time with family or travelling, but the fact is that many people sink into depression and a loss of self when they realize that the things that gave them worth – job, family, friends – are now well behind them. Add to that the likelihood of illness or loss of memory, you realize that getting older requires a lot of support and intestinal fortitude.
Poms takes us on a comedy ride through a retirement community where we meet an eclectic group of older women who each deal with growing old in very different ways. Martha (Diane Keaton) is the center of the story. She has shut herself off from life and is sinking into depression. She carries a secret that she has stopped chemotherapy and is ready to face the inevitable fact that she has little time left.
Rather than using every moment to savor what she can, while she can, she chooses to hibernate from human contact and dwell in self-pity. Since she has no one in her life to share her pain, her emotions become a weapon to wound anyone who comes near her. We don’t know if she was ever married, but there is no family or children in her life. She is sinking into a hole and her dreams have ended.
Sheryl (Jacki Weaver) lives next door, and is the complete opposite of Martha. Whatever happened in her youth, it shaped her into the eternal teenager. Even in her seventies, her mind constantly turns to a hunt for sex. If not sex, then male adventure. Wanting to have a partner in her search for such a life, she turns to her new neighbor, but Martha is a tough cookie to reach. Each has something to learn and to teach each other.
Needless to say, the venerable leading ladies of the retirement home have very different ideas of what is appropriate behavior for their older peers and they don’t mind setting rules to try to control everyone’s lifestyle.
Martha begins to come out of her shell, with Sheryl’s help, and slowly discovers that the one thing in life she had always regretted was not being able to be a cheerleader in high school. Even though it seems like a wacky idea, Martha and Sheryl begin a quest to find a group of octogenarians who will become a cheering squad for the old folks’ home. Here is where the comedy hits its stride as this wild group of ladies takes on the establishment armed with the necessary pom-poms.
We won’t spoil the escapade, but the best part of the story is when this highly unusual pep squad challenges the local high school to a duel and ends up going to the cheer leader championships. Life is restored for Martha, and Sheryl realizes that there can be friends who provide a deeper sense of satisfaction than she had ever known.
No one escapes getting old, but everyone has a choice as to how they live and what they treasure. These senior citizens transform into dynamic elders! While this is not a deep dive into the subject, it is a light-hearted and amusing reminder that life can be exciting at every stage.
Coming to retirement age can be a blessing or a curse. Why do you think that is? What is it, or will it be, for you?
Unfulfilled dreams often haunt us as being a cheerleader did for Martha. Do you have any unfulfilled dreams that require your attention? Who can become a partner in the fulfillment of that dream?
If you receive a terminal diagnosis how will you respond? Will you accept a medical regime that could prolong your life but cause physical suffering, or will you accept the opportunity to make one more exceptional choice to live life to the full? Why do you answer as you do?