But I'm a Cheerleader

Director: Jamie Babbit
Screenwriters: Brian Wayne Peterson

Institute History

  • 2000 Sundance Film Festival


Jamie Babbit’s debut feature is a raucous satire that turns up the volume on the absurdity of “curing” homosexuality. But I’m a Cheerleader is a swipe at so-called lesbian and gay rehabilitation camps that delivers lots of laughs and a sexy love story. Megan (Natasha Lyonne) is the model teenager straitlaced parents dream of—a top student and popular cheerleader who dates the captain of the football team. But her friends and family begin to notice little things that cause them concern. Megan’s behavior is too forthright; she doesn’t like kissing her boyfriend; and then there are those swimsuit-issue pages adorning her locker. Determined to save Megan from incipient lesbianism, her family and friends stage a gay intervention and ship her off to the five-step, homo-rehab camp, True Directions, guided by ex-gay Mike (RuPaul Charles). The thing is, Megan never thought of herself as a lesbian—she is a cheerleader, after all—so when sadistic camp master Mary Brown (Cathy Moriarty) insists that she take the first step to recovery by admitting she is a homosexual, Megan balks. Then sparks fly when Megan meets Graham (Clea DuVall), a rebel tomboy who enrolled to prevent being cut off from her trust fund. Can all those accusations about Megan’s deviant sexuality be true? Babbit employs a highly stylized production design that mocks the sexually engendered qualities of pink, blue, and the rainbow of colors in between. Wonderful performances by Lyonne, DuVall, and a larger-than-life Moriarty top off a smartly conceived comedy that packs a wicked punch.

— Shari Frilot

Screening Details

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