Hot Docs 2016: Cheer Up – Christy Garland


Having its World Premiere this evening at Scotiabank at 7pm is this charming, emotional, little gem, that takes us to northern reaches of Finland’s Arctic Circle, and into the lives of some wonderful young women, cheerleaders, who have big hearts, and bigger dreams.

Led by their coach Miia, this cheerleading team tries to win the championships, while trying to sort out their personal lives, and the heartache, and joys of growing up.

The film follows Miia in her quest for love, and excellence in her team (even travelling to Texas for inspiration), even when she’s not always sure how to lead them, as well as Patricia, who is trying to come to terms with the loss of her mother, while her father is trying to involve her in his life and the upcoming birth of a new sibling. Then there is Aino, who is plagued by unhappiness in her life, and may finally be ready to take the steps to find her own happiness.

To, in fact, cheer up.

Set against the stark beauty of Finland, where it looks like it’s winter all the time, these women, and their teammates pour their hearts and talent into all of their efforts, striving to be more as a whole than they are individually.

But setbacks, heartbreak, and revelations shake things up, but will it break everything apart, or bring them together.

Watching them come together, finding their mojo, if you will, is enough to lift your spirits, and seeing their personal lives improving, you can see the effect it has on their performances.

They are a wonderful group of performers who are at the bottom of the rung, but believe they can be more, and belief, and hard work can do amazing things.

Cheer Up is a wonderful little gem. Check it out tonight or Thursday at the Lightbox at 7pm, and on Saturday at 6:30pm, also at the Lightbox.




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