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Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Bend It Like Beckham

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Judy Thorburn

"Bend It Like Beckham" - Should Score A Hit

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Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil

“BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM” – SHOULD SCORE A HIT

In America we know the game as soccer.  But, in England it’s simply called football. So, to  explain the title of Bend It Like Beckham to audiences in the U. S., it refers to the British star soccer player David Beckham (husband of Posh Spice) who is known for his ability to kick the ball so that it curves around his opponent to make a goal. What does this have to do with the story?  Well, this endearing script revolves around a young British born teenager of  Indian descent who dreams of playing soccer against the wishes of her traditionally ethnic family. You see, David Beckham is her idol, this point made obvious by the many posters of him we see taped all over her bedroom wall. But, her parents have other plans for their daughter.  Mom thinks the most important thing for a good Indian woman is too learn how to cook and get married, to a nice Indian boy, of course, in that order.

Bend It Like Beckham stars glowing newcomer Parminder Nagra as Jesminda Bhamra, nicknamed Jess, the younger of two daughters of Sikh Indian parents in London.  It’s a delightful story many are comparing with last years surprise smash hit My Big Fat Greek Wedding, since it deals with a similar generational and cultural clash in a humorous, but heartwarming way.  But, in this story the plot centers on the heroine’s first and foremost  goal to play in a male dominated sport, which is against her traditional upbringing, rather than a wish to get married.

Jess loves to spend her free time in the park joining some of her male friends in a game of soccer. One day she is seen by Jules (Keira Knightly, a Winona Ryder lookalike) another female soccer enthusiast, who recruits her for an all girls amateur team. Her parents, object and are deep into making plans for Jess’s older sister Pinky’s upcoming wedding, of which Jess is supposed to be involved. But, with her heart set on playing soccer and a growing attraction to her cute, but non-Indian team coach (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), there’s no keeping Jess home.

Director and co-writer Gurinder Chadha fills the script with colorful and likeable characters, all of which are energetically brought to life by its impressive cast. Especially charming is Parminda, a natural whose expressive beautiful brown eyes and enthusiastic performance carries the weight of the film. The parents and sister, played by Anupam Kher,  Shaheen  Khan, and Archie Panjabi respectively, add the endearing mixture of amusing culture clash and ethnic pride in scenes where there is a confrontation with old fashioned traditional values and modern ways. And, it’s all done in a lighthearted way that is never culturally demeaning. Also, thrown into the mix is a subplot about pretty, but tomboyish Jules, and the relationship with her parents. Her father supports his daughter’s interest in soccer.  But, buxom mom, Paula (Juliet Stevenson) who takes Jess shopping for sexy underwear such as the Wonderbra, thinks her daughter might be gay when she mistakes the friendship with Jess as something more, after overhearing a conversation of theirs out of context.

Although predictable, with the inevitable big soccer game near the ending for all to cheer, the result is an inspiring coming of age story that bends the rules on feminine standards and supports individuality, without breaking away from the true meaning of love, friendship and real values. Bend it Like Beckham is a refreshing little movie that will leave you feeling upbeat. It even has a neat soundtrack that is a blend of pop and traditional Indian music. Put that all together and you have a successful British film that should reach its goal – of scoring a hit in America!