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“But I’m a Cheerleader” Review


I first stumbled upon “But I’m a Cheerleader” at a friend’s house, following our routine of watching movies and talking for hours everytime we would hangout. This movie was different. “But I’m a cheerleader” has left an imprint in my brain– and I have no complaints.

“But I’m a Cheerleader” was released in 2000 and didn’t become a cult classic in the LGBTQIA+ community until years later. At first, the movie received a negative reception and was highly misinterpreted, receiving a 42% in rotten tomatoes.

The movie starts with a intervention among the friends and family of Megan Bloomfield, played by Natasha Lyonne, where they bring to attention their concerns that Megan may be a lesbian, highlighting that she hates kissing her boyfriend, has photos of women in her locker and bedroom, watches her cheerleader teammates intently, and loves tofu– a lesbian through and through. For her friends and family, Megan’s identity as a lesbian will not be tolerated, and as a solution, they send her to a conversion therapy school called “New Directions”.

Megan refuses to believe she is a lesbian, trying to fight against her parents idea to be sent away but is yet refused. While living at New Directions, she feels out of place, ashamed to have to be living in the same place with people she has no connection to. It isn’t until a realization in group therapy that she realizes that she is, in fact, a lesbian, screaming, “I’m a homosexual” and proceeding to cry.

Her fear of identity has become her reality.

During her time at New Directions, she participates in many unique activities in order to help “fix” her. She and her fellow lesbian peers are asked to complete a variety of gendered activities to help her become more womanly, the purpose being to help destroy her attraction toward women. But instead she achieves the opposite, learning about the beauty of the LGBTQIA+ community.

What Megan certainly never expected was to fall for her companion, Graham, played by Clea Duvall. As their love story progresses, they become more proud of their new found identities, despite being in the midst of a conversion therapy camp.

This movie made me laugh so hard, the irony of the story taking place during a conversion therapy and the back and forth conversation of the characters. This movie influenced me to then go home and research the cast– I was genuinely so obsessed.

But most of all, “But I’m a Cheerleader” made me genuinely proud to be queer.

This movie is hilariously written, important, and necessary for the LGBTQIA+ community. It does a fantastic job of making light and humor out of a situation that is so awful,managing to include comedy while highlighting the awful treatment of these young, queer teenagers. As well as tapping into sexuality, it also displays the stupidity that results from gender roles. A portion of the school curriculum is making the girls cook and clean while making the guys fix cars and play sports. Not only that, this movie has been able to stay a masterpiece for the past 20 years and has stood the test of time.

I truly don’t think people were ready for this absolute masterpiece of a movie and was ahead of its time. This movie was wacky, rare, and holds a very special place in my heart, having made a lasting impact on me and other queer individuals.

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About the Contributor
Luca Hinesman
Luca Hinesman, Journalist
Luca Hinesman is currently a Sophomore at Community High School and a believer in buying expensive coffees. When not in CET rehearsals or mock trial practices, you can find them reading books about revenge, catching up on homework, or hanging out with friends. Luca is currently in their first semester with The Communicator and is excited to contribute their ideas this year!

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