Entertainment

Adriaan Roets
2 minute read
31 Jan 2020
12:41 pm

Netflix’s ‘Cheer’ documentary is storytelling at its best

Adriaan Roets

This is the sort of show to binge on. After 10 minutes, you can’t help but share in every triumph and low point.

'Cheer'. Picture: Netflix

Very few documentaries get to the bottom of what makes humanity tick.

If it’s not the air we breath or the blood pulsing through our veins, what is it that drives us to get up and live our lives every day, regardless of the circumstance?

Who would have thought that a documentary about cheerleading would actually start to answer that question?

Cheer. Picture: Netflix

Since dropping on Netflix on Friday, Cheer has become a global phenomenon, but surprisingly, not about its deconstructed subject, which is cheerleading, but rather about what it takes to become your best.

From the team behind Last Chance U, Cheer follows the competitive cheerleaders of Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas.

Led by Monica Aldama, the small college, which in South African terms would be a technical university, has won 14 National Championships since 2000.

The stakes on the mat are high, but for these athletes, the only thing more brutal than their workouts or more exceptional than their performances are the stories of triumph over adversity.

Cheer. Picture: Netflix

Over the six episodes, viewers will join the Navarro College cheerleaders as they face injuries, sacrifice, personal setbacks and triumphs, all leading up to one nail-biting final: the National Championship.

Following their lives is an exploration of a global feeling. Even at your peak you have doubts and it’s working through them that will push you ahead.

There’s the impossibly positive Jerry who recently lost his mother and is struggling with weight loss; Lexi, the bad girl who struggles to identify with her teammates; Gabi, the picture of cheerleading perfection, but who has her own problems; and then there’s coach Aldama, who inspires the team to work in unison.

Cheer. Picture: Netflix

It is the sort of show to binge on. After 10 minutes, you can’t help but share in every triumph and low point.

Cheer is about people who work hard for one goal.

With January over and many people already jumping off the New Year’s resolution bandwagon, perhaps this will show that you can work hard for perfection. Then work even harder.

Cheer is inspiring, motivating and heartfelt – without relying on cliched ploys. This is documentary storytelling at its absolute best.

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