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Overall Rating

Awesome: 28.85%
Worth A Look44.23%
Average: 4.81%
Pretty Bad: 8.65%
Total Crap: 13.46%

3 reviews, 86 user ratings

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Bend It Like Beckham
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by EricDSnider

"People from India: What's up with them?"
4 stars

“Bend It Like Beckham” is the latest film to explore the comedic potential of people from India, not as Kwik-E-Mart employees or cab drivers, but as actual people with an actual culture. Of course, even these more respectful films wouldn’t exist if there weren’t something inherently fascinating to us Westerners about Indian culture, but still, it’s a start. Better to be fascinating as a people than as a stereotype.

The film, a feel-good sort of thing, is directed and co-written by Gurinder Chadha, whose “What’s Cooking?” (2000) explored similar themes of different cultures interacting. Here, it is a Sikh family living in London, where Western influences are hard to avoid. Jess Bharma (Parminder K. Nagra), a vivacious teenager, has a knack for soccer (called football over there, of course), to the chagrin of her ultra-traditional parents (Anupam Kher and Shaheen Khan), who don’t think a girl ought to be engaged in such pursuits.

It is particularly bad timing now, because Jess’ sister Pinky (Archie Panjabi) is about to be married, and Jess is needed to assist in the massive wedding preparations. The second busiest time in a Sikh girl’s life, after getting married, is being the sister of someone getting married.

Matters are made worse by Jess’ affection for her coach, a decidedly non-Indian boy named Joe (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers), and there’s some forced pseudo-farce when the parents of Jess’ friend Juliette (Keria Knightley) think Jules is in love with Jess. There is not much to guess from there, plot-wise. The film is a pleasing blend of sports-underdog movie (a few great soccer sequences), family comedy and coming-of-age story, enhanced a good deal by Nagra’s appealing performance as Jess. She has a funny, expressive personality that carries the film.

The bit with the suspected lesbianism, as well as an out-of-nowhere revelation about another character, serve to reinforce the major theme, which is about accepting people’s differences -- your own and others’. It is not a perfect film, nor a hilarious one, but it is likable.

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originally posted: 06/30/03 17:13:12
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

3/27/13 Anon this movie is a complete disappoimtment to the real indian culture. 1 stars
12/21/11 RLan A good film about family obligation with soccer as a backdrop. 4 stars
1/18/09 abi i love this movie is the best and my favorite 5 stars
8/12/07 mim good movie 4 stars
4/19/07 Stevo UK y do Americans call it soccer? N y do we call it football? it's still a shit sport.... 1 stars
1/17/07 David Pollastrini all the women in this film are hot! 3 stars
11/06/06 juliiiiiiiii bad film, i hate it so much 1 stars
10/30/06 horndog shit movie i would rather pull my dick then watch this shit it is boring 1 stars
9/25/06 Clara Not that good 1 stars
4/18/06 lynn Johnathon-Rhys Meyers is the ONLY reason to watch this movie!! 4 stars
1/22/06 sweetgrrl1972 One of those rare movies people of all ages can enjoy. All time fave. 5 stars
12/05/05 jojo i think it's the 14th 2nd-generation immigrant kid movie i've seen. there all the same. 3 stars
9/13/05 bbbr pretty good and homourous 4 stars
9/02/05 larry a great, heartwarming movie. 5 stars
8/12/05 Kelly inspirational 4 stars
7/27/05 joe blogs total crap 1 stars
3/04/05 Jess Adorable film! It's rather inspiring, but that's prolly just the music. Cute, at-home film. 4 stars
12/27/04 mjoc The filmakers were "Bent On Boredom". What crap! 1 stars
12/08/04 Kristina Williams I loved the movie. Great music, great story. 5 stars
9/14/04 Nameless Commentless 5 stars
8/10/04 lollies it was a great movie and wat fuker can't see that.da 4 stars
8/02/04 psychotic black dwarf Shocking how Beckham & WUSA went to shit contemporaneous w/ this entertaining movie. 4 stars
6/20/04 Daveman It's melodramatic? Tell me something I don't know, I still enjoyed it a great deal. 4 stars
5/05/04 iusgfpiughew ewo]ghr 4 stars
4/08/04 el yo sharta Awesome movie! joe is sexy! touching yet energetic. worth a second and even third look 5 stars
3/22/04 Sévi_c A wonderful movie which shows different cultures in a really funny way! 4 stars
3/22/04 lounge_c A lovely movie, quite in touch with reality. Acceptable and worth a sencond look :o) 4 stars
3/22/04 Irene_c It's a great movie with more sence than just jokes. 4 stars
3/22/04 Sarah It`s ä great movie! 4 stars
3/22/04 w3c very entertaining. hiarious in parts 5 stars
3/21/04 loupe_c I liked the movie.They show in a very good way how it can be in different cultures. 4 stars
3/21/04 Cin'z_c Sweet movie with lots of deeper sence + a try to change one's point of view.*excelleeent* 4 stars
3/21/04 fantac A great movie with great actors and a background which is serious but also funny made! 5 stars
3/19/04 denise_c The best movie for a tedious evening at home! It is gorgeous entertainment! I'm lovin' it. 4 stars
3/16/04 Masta It is a pretty bad movie. It's just another teenager movie! Everything was so predicable!!! 2 stars
3/16/04 Waly C This film is total crap, didn't like it at all 1 stars
3/07/04 reptilesni What? No blood, sex or car chases? What kind of movie is this? (I loved it!) 5 stars
2/10/04 quality not looks low level entertainment, agree with Parry 2 stars
1/28/04 y2mckay I only saw it for the two hot chicks. Mistaken identity lesbian subplot, also amusing. 3 stars
12/01/03 HorrorScribbler My Big Fat Indian Soccer Team 4 stars
11/21/03 Cyco_Beaver I good film oulining indian life in the UK, pretty funny at times 5 stars
10/21/03 Taylor Fladgate like the film "East is East", a hilarious look at English life from a different perspective 5 stars
10/10/03 Robyn Jamil-Walid Starts off irritating and cliched, but eventually gets good. Worth sticking with. 4 stars
8/14/03 Arnie Wasserman Predictable, but worth a look . 4 stars
8/13/03 Nancy295 I enjoyed the music! 4 stars
8/13/03 brentley great movie. really enjoyed it. 4 stars
8/12/03 shelley stults feisty fun...gotta see 5 stars
8/11/03 helen best brit film for years 5 stars
8/05/03 Mike Parminger Nagra is the most beautiful woman who ever lived. Long may she reign 5 stars
7/29/03 tariq from sarosh acadmy swat 3 stars
7/21/03 Udoka It's kind of like a Disney movie, only Pg-13. A few funny parts. It's still alright. 4 stars
7/07/03 Emperor's New Clothes? Nope. Just a Fat, Ugly, Naked, Guy. If this was about a white girl & soccer, it wouldn't be worth a second glance. But it isn't 4 stars
7/06/03 Paul S. This film is Hot! Hot! Hot! It kicks BALLS .... 5 stars
6/27/03 George Pretty Good 4 stars
6/10/03 Joe Fiffick Great Film! Well worth the time and money to see. 5 stars
6/05/03 rae This movie is superb! Chris it's just that; a MOVIE, get a life! 5 stars
5/28/03 paul fun, simple movie that will leave you going home happy 5 stars
5/26/03 Parker Utter Thorougly Brilliant!!! 5 stars
5/14/03 I got my $7 back, but I'll never get my hour back. 1 stars
5/05/03 Mike Hughes Very worthwhile picture. I would see it again. 4 stars
5/01/03 Jessy Gill i love this movie i never seen it yet because where i live in windsor they never told us 5 stars
5/01/03 Ayla pretty decent if not terribly original or surprising 4 stars
4/26/03 Miss Black A fun film for anyone who wants to take a break from over budget films. 5 stars
4/24/03 GWB amazing and funny 5 stars
4/22/03 mr. Pink Charming. Sweet with a little vinegar to make it go down easy. 4 stars
4/20/03 Suzz fun & entertaining/better than the Fat Greek thingy 4 stars
4/15/03 reptilesni This movie rocked! The audience clapped at the end! How often does that happen? 5 stars
4/07/03 Jon Cliché-ridden nonsense. Avoid at all costs... 1 stars
4/02/03 Becky Smith A flick u can c with your mate,bf,mum or even grannma -I loved it! 5 stars
3/18/03 fdbcbcvb Gay ass movie. Keira Knightley's acting sucks, but I'd still fuck her. 5 stars
3/06/03 SS Captures the mood & mixing of cultures in modern England brilliantly. Delightfully funny. 5 stars
3/03/03 David Fluff, and not very good fluff at that. 2 stars
3/03/03 PM-LA Funny, smart, if this doesn't move you, there's something wrong 5 stars
2/26/03 dhe this film is it. It's a feel good movie, try not to judge it so much! 5 stars
2/24/03 Mimi Too much ideas going on the director's head, but did not express it in a good way. 1 stars
2/18/03 Gabrielle I love this film! Keira Knightley(jules) was awful, though! 4 stars
2/13/03 Mopsa I'm a girl and I like soccer, but I found it a bit boring 3 stars
1/28/03 P.Rodriguez Keira Knightley is soo hot!!!! 5 stars
1/27/03 Raza it's a good film 4 stars
1/22/03 Sharkster I liked it! There are worse ways to spend 2 hrs. 4 stars
1/20/03 chris howe yanks don't understand soccer - feel good flick 4 stars
1/20/03 james really nice 'feel' good movie 4 stars
1/20/03 matt fresh yeah I hated it. Jess and the coach dont have much chemistry in my eyes, hate that ending. 1 stars
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