Bend It Like Beckham is a mostly charming comedy about an Indian girl named Jesminder who lives in England and wants to play football (soccer) against her parents' wishes.
It's a Girl Power movie. It seems to touch on almost every aspect of teen girl life, is multicultural, has fairly good music.
It also features a love triangle, teenage rebellion and coming of age, comic misunderstandings, and happy ending as anyone could wish.
Where those movies celebrated family relationships, Bend It Like Beckham is much more a celebration of individuality and pursuing one’s dreams in spite of family opposition.
Yet the film’s mantra that parents don’t always know what’s best for you, that you have to live your own life, etc.
Although it’s not a Bollywood film, like many Indian films Bend It throws in a traditional wedding with lots of color and activity, though director Chadha lacks the visual poetry.
Jesminder Bhamra (Parminder K. Nagra) lives in London with her traditional parents.
Her father (Anupam Kher) and mother (Shaheen Khan) are thrilled to have their eldest daughter Pinky (Archie Panjabi) marrying a nice Indian boy. Jess isn't interested in things like that; she's more concerned with soccer and fantasizing playing next to her idol David Beckham.
Her parents are not fond of this hobby, but as long as it does not interfere with her future, they grudgingly go along with it.
Then events set up a path for Jess that will interfere with her parents' idea of their daughter's future.
Jess is recruited by Jules (Keira Knightley) for a non-professional league.
The coach Joe (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers) is impressed with Jess' skills and agrees with Jules that she would be an asset to the team. Her parents find out and do not approve.
Her mother attempts to replace the love for sports with a knowledge of cooking, but it only fuels Jess' desire to escape the fate her parents have in store for her.
She begins to sneak out, feigning employment to play.
There's a great sense of fun in the cultural collision between Indian and British lifestyle.
Director Gurinder Chadha does an excellent job of showing the conflict between tradition and the modern times.
“Bend it like Beckham” is satisfying and all the while entertaining to watch from start to finish, it’s a coming of age tale about characters driven by a goal, and you can’t help but smiling.