Jess Bhamra, the daughter of a strict Indian couple in London, is not permitted to play organized soccer, even though she is 18. When Jess is playing for fun one day, her impressive skills are seen by Jules Paxton, who then convinces Jess to play for her semi-pro team. Jess uses elaborate excuses to hide her matches from her family while also dealing with her romantic feelings for her coach, Joe.
In truth, there is barely enough story here to make a film.
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Each character in this movie — down to the smallest one — is an individual rather than a type, prone to spontaneous changes of mood and sometimes amusing outbursts of pettiness or ill humor.
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If you asked me what my favorite movie was without hesitation I would tell you it's this one. Sure I am a tad biased towards it as I am a female who loves soccer more than anything AND support Manchester United, BUT... even if you aren't I can almost guarantee you'll like this movie.I've watched Bend It Like Beckham more times than I can remember and I only find myself writing this review because I'm procrastinating writing my essay on belonging in which this movie is my related text. I was hesitant to analyze and pick apart my favorite movie at first but I have found my love for the movie only deepened as i went. No only is this movie funny and a perfect family movie to watch but it carries so many important messages about racism, gender equality, society and religious expectations, sexuality, sportsmanship, relationships and many many more (including belonging). Sure it had it's flaws (I couldn't flaw it but i know many people can and that's understandable) but for a small budget movie, I personally think it is amazing. and would HIGHLY recommend!!!
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Formula can work in several ways, but two seem to be predominant in our sentimental cinema system. One formula, perhaps found in a manipulative Katherine Heigl vehicle, travels down a bumpy path until it crashes into a nearby ditch. The dialogue, never witty to begin with, is littered with the clichés of the past. The plot, robotic in its determination to take a detour into Tinsel Town, causes an eye-roll instead of a deservedly smitten sigh. But then, there's the formula found in a Gene Kelly musical. We quickly figure out how everything is going to end (he'll get the girl! Come out on top! Defeat the "villain"!), but its ability to exude agreeable comedy and make the most of its befitting stars turns predictability into an art form. We want him to get the girl, to come out on top, to defeat his nemesis. Formula can work wonders, as long as it's done right."Bend It Like Beckham" is a formulaic coming-of-age dramedy, but never did I feel manipulated to smile, to laugh, to do anything pertaining to unbridled amusement. Years down the road, I may not remember the inner workings of its plot; what I will remember, though, is how much elation I felt during its quick 112 minutes. So lucrative is its formula that I turned into one of those middle-aged monsters who finds themselves unembarrassed to talk to the screen, begging the characters to make the right decisions.A radiant Parminder Nagra portrays Jesminder Bhamra, a British teenager of Indian descent. Though her family resides in London, still strong is their attachment to their strict culture. A picture of their maker hangs above the fireplace, judging every move; the mother (Shaheen Khan), conservative and close-minded, doesn't much care about education, preferring that her daughters learn how to cook a proper Indian meal and feed it to their (future) nice, Indian husband. But Jess feels trapped. She's a high school senior, bright, and completely in love with -- GASP -- soccer. While the other teenage girls in her culture have accepted their upcoming marital dilemma, Jess wants something more. She wants to receive a good education, to become the female David Beckham. Fearing the wrath of her domineering parents, she attends soccer practice under the guise that she's headed to a demanding job. Jess becomes close to a fellow teammate, Juliette (Keira Knightley), and soon develops a crush on her young coach, Joe (Jonathan Rhys Meyers). Before, her biggest concern was to avoid getting caught by her parents. Now, she not only has to worry about punishment; she also has to deal with the fact that Juliette fancies Joe too.On paper, "Bend It Like Beckham" sounds, expectedly, like tepid formula. But with its irrepressibly wonderful cast and knack for natural comedy, it's a notable success that gives us an excuse to abandon our problems and find escape in someone else's. It's a warm film, perhaps doped up with copious amounts of anti-depressant medication.The best thing about "Bend It Like Beckham" is Nagra, an appealing actress that gives Jess an immediately charismatic air. So often are we told to like the teen at the center of a coming-of-age movie; unusually, Nagra makes it easy for us to root for Jess. Delightfully supporting her are a spry, witty Knightley, a hilariously shrill Shaheen Khan, and Juliet Stevenson, who portrays Juliette's mother with extroverted comedic skill.It's rare to laugh out loud during a film, and "Bend It Like Beckham" provides plenty of gut- busters. Not because of a well-timed punchline, not because of a physical comedy mess -- because human interaction is funny, because clashing cultures can be funny. "Bend It Like Beckham" is a winner.
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The premise was intriguing, if trite. Girl wants to play soccer, traditional family refuses, girl runs off and does it anyway. Unfortunately, the execution was mediocre and we only saw part of the movie.The very beginning was amusing. We see a televised soccer match with David Beckham on the team, there is trouble getting the ball through, and suddenly a female player gets the ball and scores an unlikely goal, to the world's adulation. Well, except for when several sports commentators talk to the girl's mother, who is critical of her being in the soccer game in the first place and showing her legs to thousands of people. It was the girl's imagination, of course-and real life intrudes when she is called down to deal with preparing for her sister's upcoming wedding.Unfortunately, then comes a bunch of shouting back and forth, clichéd and not well-acted. A standard clash of Indian and English cultures, and it quickly got tedious, so we gave the rest a miss. The idea could have been done much better.
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Indian 'Kudi' Jasminder dreams of playing alongside David Beckham one day (he doesn't need an introduction, I guess). She constantly talks to his poster, stuck behind her bed on the wall, like he's her best buddy. She maybe the only straight girl who doesn't dream of getting into his pants rather shorts, unlike those bimbos her sister Pinki hangs around with. She's pukka to her Indian roots in all ways, except her love for 'football-shootball'; that makes her mother Mrs. Bhamra go 'Hai Rabba!' (she turns like a typical Indian lady to the poster of Guru Nanak, the religious guru of Punjabi Sikhs, every time she hears 'Football'). Mrs. Bhamra wants Jasminder to get a husband and learn some cooking – who else shall cook roti-shoti for him but she, right? She has high hopes her younger daughter would marry Teetu, Jess's (Jasminder's nickname) friend since childhood. Of course, Teetu will never marry her – he's gay, still closeted. Teetu and Jess play football with a bunch of their Hispanic, Indian and Afro-American soccer buddies at a local park. Juliette or "Jules", an English girl is impressed with Jess' moves; Jules plays for Hounslow Harriers, a local football team coached by Joe, who's also her crush. Jules brings Jess to Joe and soon Jess joins Joe's team (hey, this could be a decent tongue-twister!) without informing her parents. It's totally a success tale for Joe and his girls on field, but it's the off-field drama that brings 'Bad News' every time.Everyone's got problems of their own, so Bend it Like Beckham never 'All About Jess', though Jess' definitely in s##t the most (in her own words). She's got the stuffiest family you can imagine (they seem stuffy to whites at least. To Indians like me, it's like watching home!) – a dad who can't forget his disaster past with goras (whites) and cares for Jess too much to see her facing a similar treatment, a mom whom we know of already but wait my notes also say 'she'll drop dead if Jess is found with a white man'; Jess' sister Pinki is better that the parents at least but she's the girl Jess would hate to become – the looks- obsessed bad girl who has no problems having sex in a car (Jess' shy to expose her bra even in a girl's locker room, but that also could be because her seamstress comments on one occasion that Jess' breasts look like mosquito bites!). Family's no-no to football – check. Then comes Pinki's marriage, and Jess can't keep her secret from the family forever; she doesn't actually, as she's caught often, but Joe somehow convinces her to play on.Jess does play on, mainly because football's her passion but also because she likes the lean and handsome Joe (cue thunder effect for Mrs. Bhamra). That sours up her friendship with Jules, who sees them almost kiss outside a club.Poor Jules risks losing Joe to Jess and her mother Paula Paxton doesn't make it any easier for her – she wrongly thinks Jules and Jess are in love! Paula does clarify that 'she has absolutely no problems with lesbians. She was cheering for Martina Navratilova herself', but that doesn't stop her from getting snooping around whenever Jess and Jules are together – the perfect prototype of a hypocrite. Plus she's Mrs. Bhamra's English counterpart when it comes to discouraging her daughter from football. 'Bend it Like Beckham' is all about hopes and dreams dribbling their way past disasters. What's best about this film is that it doesn't favor only one culture and acts bigoted against others. This makes the movie not just for 'Indians only', but just about everybody.It's a very balanced film – there's comedy in it, drama, romance, football and yeah, Beckham! The Indian humor has been tastefully sprinkled in to spice up taste-buds, the drama is appropriately light and breezy and the romance is sweet like juicy mangoes. Gurinder Chaddha, the film's director, scores a winning goal, and we're all here to cheer.