Hot Docs 2016: Cheer Up

The worst cheerleading team in Finland is inspired to improve themselves in Cheer Up. The Arctic Circle Spirit Ice Queens are a Finnish cheerleading squad, who almost always place last in their competitions. Desperate for improvement, coach Miia travels to Dallas to receive tips from the world champions. However, it turns out the cheerleaders on the team, including Patu and Aino, have some more pressing issues in their lives.

It can be easy to assume that a documentary about the “worst cheerleading squad in Finland” would end up seeming like a real life version on the film Bring It On. Indeed, the film begins with slow motion shots of the cheerleaders flying through the air. However, it quickly turns out that the film is much more about the personal lives of featured cheerleaders Patu and Aino, as well as coach Miia, with the film being all the more better for it.

Probably the biggest take away from Cheer Up is that it doesn’t matter that these girls are considered the worst cheerleading team in Finland. Sure, you can develop a “no pain, no gain”attitude and literally bleed for your team, but at the end of the day, there are more important things that these girls have to worry about in their lives than flips and pyramids.

8 / 10 stars

Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).