Review: ‘Cheer’ succeeds as heartfelt docuseries

Courtesy of Netlfix

"The style of filming is simple yet impactful as viewers feel as if they are a fly on the wall being immersed into the world that is Navarro cheerleading."

Netflix’s new docu-series “Cheer” debuted Jan. 8 and has been captivating views on the predominantly unknown world of cheerleading since its release. The series follows the cheer team from Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas, a small town about 65 miles south of Dallas, as they prepare for the Daytona Beach Cheer Competition–the so-called “Super Bowl” of collegiate cheerleading. 

The show was directed by Greg Whitely who also curated the Emmy nominated “Last Chance U,” a documentary-series of a similar style that follows the football team of East Mississippi Community College and Independence Community College throughout their seasons. 

While many of the cheerleaders come to the college because of its history as a top cheer program and presence as a national competitor, others on the team see Navarro as a second chance to make a better life for themselves. Like “Last Chance U,” “Cheer” goes beyond the sport as the series highlights the raw and unfiltered backstories of the athletes on the team. Viewers are able to see the home life and childhoods of athletes who grew up with no parents, experienced death at a young age, and who dealt with abuse. When watching the show, you find yourself not only rooting for the team to win, but rooting for each individual person as the producers successfully create a sense of bond between viewers and the athletes. 

When the athletes come to Navarro, they are taken under the wing of head coach and main character Monica Aldama, who becomes a motherly figure for them. With each athlete comes a differing storyline and backstory, yet Aldama remains one of the key figures in each of them as she truly cares for, nurtures and pushes the cheerleaders. Under her direction, the team has won 14 national titles since 2000. Throughout the series, athletes such as Jerry Harris and Lexi Brumback stated that they would “do anything for Monica,” and that bond between a coach and her team is what makes the show so special. 

The cinematography of the series also highly adds to its success. It goes beyond the perfected routine, spray tans, cute uniforms, and show makeup. The directors show it all–the tears, and there are a lot of tears, the injuries, the fights, the mess-ups and the nitty gritty. The style of filming is simple yet impactful as viewers feel as if they are a fly on the wall being immersed into the world that is Navarro cheerleading. 

There is little to complain about with the series. Other than a few scenes that were drawn out a bit longer than necessary, the show is captivating and shows the tough and strong world of cheerleading that is more than just dancing on a sideline. 

 

Rating: A+