out of 4
All-Reviews.com Movie/Video Review
Bend It Like Bekham
Starring: Parminder K. Nagra, Keira Knightley|
Director: Gurinder Chada
RunTime: 112 Minutes
Release Date: March 2003
Genres: Comedy, Drama
|*Also starring: ||Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Anupam Kher, Archie Panjabi, Shaznay Lewis, Frank Harper, Juliet Stevenson, Shaheen Khan||
Review by Susan Granger
3½ stars out of 4
If you enjoyed the genial generational conflict and amusing culture
clash of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," consider "Bend It Like Beckham." The title
refers to soccer icon David Beckham, captain of the Manchester United team and
husband of Posh of the Spice Girls; the popular British phrase, "Nobody bends it
like Beckham," refers to his ability to adroitly kick the ball to curve past the
defending goalkeeper. Here, it's also a metaphor for bending societal rules.
With that clarification, the London-set story begins as Jesminder
Bhamra (Parminder Nagra), an 18 year-old high school senior, aspires to play
soccer. Problem is: she's the daughter of strict, traditional Sikh parents who
pray to their spiritual guide Babaji that she will marry a nice, conventional
Indian lad and learn to cook the perfect chapatti. Nevertheless, she's recruited
by cheery Jules (Keira Knightley) to join the local women's team and evade her
over-protective parents in order to play. But there are further complications
when both young women fall for the team coach (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) and Jess
realizes that her sister's wedding falls on the same day as an all-important
soccer final which will be attended by an American soccer scout.
As in "What's Cooking?" and "Bhaji on the Beach," Indian
writer/director Gurinder Chadha cleverly balances drama with humor in her
exploration of multi-cultural situations. In depicting Jess's family, for
example, Chadha reveals the warm, decent humanity beneath the ethnic
stereotypes. And credit cinematographer Jong Lin, along with second-unit
director and co-writer Paul Mayeda Berges, for the fast-paced sports sequences.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Bend It Like Beckham" scores a charming,
exuberant 8. It's bouncy, feel-good fun.
Copyright © 2003 Susan Granger
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