“I'm not perverted! I get good grades! I go to church! I'm a cheerleader!”
Welcome to Harbour Highlights, a series of cult and classic films handpicked by the Harbour Lights staff.
For the romantic month of February we’re revisiting a true cult classic – But I’m a Cheerleader, the tale of all-American cheerleader Megan (Natasha Lyonne) whose feelings toward the other cheerleaders and love of Melissa Etheridge music lead her family to send her to a gay conversion camp to ‘cure’ her lesbianism. During her time there, Megan not only battles the conversion therapy but starts to develop feelings for fellow camper Graham (Clea DuVall).
Released in 2000 during the post-American Pie teen comedy boom (after facing a ratings battle the director claimed was due to the homosexual content of the film), But I’m a Cheerleader was given a small, nominal release and got lost in the crowd, dismissed by both audiences and critics. However, the film won a devoted crowd who championed the film on DVD leading to a critical reappraisal and a cult following. Now recognised as a smart, knowingly kitsch satire with a tone inspired by influences as varied as John Waters, Edward Scissorhands and Barbie, But I’m a Cheerleader was named as one of the top five lesbian films of all time by AfterEllen.com. But at the heart of it all, according to director Jamie Babbit, is a simple romantic story – one worth revisiting on the big screen this Valentine’s month.