on 9 September 2007
"Bend It" is a film about tackling adversity.
A major focus of the film is Jess tackling her family's adversity to her playing football. Her parents want her to get married at age 17/18, to a "good Indian boy" and her Mum wants Jess to learn how to cook a "full Indian meal".
Another theme of adversity, although one not given much focus, is racism. This spans Jess's father recounting his negative experience with an amateur English cricket club; Jess explaining her parent's insistence that she can only marry an Indian boy - not white, black or Muslim; the coach mentioning that's in being Irish he encountered racism as a player, and Jess being called a "Paki" by an opponent.
The football scenes are great fun, and there's plenty of comedic moments in the film. The scene near the end - at Jess's parents house, where they grant her permission to go to America - is a tear-jerker. Plus something happens at the airport to complete a feel-good ending!
On top of all this are excellent contemporary references of that 2001/2002 era, to Spice Girls ("there's a reason why Sporty Spice is the only one without a fella!"), David Beckham in his Manchester United days, and the short-lived professional women's football league within the USA.
Great film. Great fun.
I'd been after this film for some time, and was pleased to be able to pick it up cheaply at the supermarket earlier this week. I was somewhat surprised when my mother (not, as far as I know, a fan of the cross-cultural sporting coming-of-age genre) said that she wanted to watch it last night. It turns out that someone had told her that it had been made around where we grew up in West London (Hayes, Southall, Hounslow, Heathrow - how those names mix memory and desire). Neither of us were disappointed - it's an excellent comedy, with some deft touches.
The story isn't perhaps the most original creation, but the merit of the acting is that it has you caring about what happens to the characters. Parminder Nagra is particularly good, although I thought Keira Knightley wasn't so skilled at handling the obligatory twists in her role. The direction is adept - particularly for the crowd scenes (the football games, the parties, the wedding). And the soundtrack - an exciting mixture of bhangra and Western music (though I must have missed Victoria Beckham's contribution) - is really well matched: one of my favourite parts was the use of the impossibly exhuberant "Move On Up" during a montage of the team training, which almost made me want to jump up and start kicking a ball around the room myself. Almost.
on 29 November 2010
The Director really hit the nail on the head with this one - and I can't begin to understand why anyone could rate this film less than the 5 stars it deserves. With moments that could make you want to laugh and cry, it is not one of those films where you'll leave it running while you go for a toilet break, you simple have to pause, in order to not miss a second. Not only was the script brilliantly written, but the actors and actresses worked seamlessly, to create an amazing, yet terrible - transparent look at what impact cultural differences can have in our modern world. I would highly recommend this film to all, a fantastic and completely worthwhile buy.
I bought this DVD as a fan of Keira Knightley, wanting to see some of her early film work. It is not really my kind of movie, but a young Jonathan Rhys Meyers was an added attraction.
It is an entertaining movie. At its heart is the young Jess, played by Parminder Nagra. She's about to go to university but there is a clash in her life between the call of women's football and the demands of her own Sikh family. Like a cross-cultural rom-com it's an engaging tale, but with a few holes in the plot, and sometimes the music intrudes too much over the dialogue. Nevertheless, its heart is so much in the right place that it would be churlish to focus on the negative.
Directed by Gurinder Chadha, I was particularly impressed with her skilled interweaving of the heart-stopping final football match with the magnificently colourful wedding of Jess's sister. In Chadha's commentary (with her husband and co-writer) we learn how much of a community movie this was, being set in the neighbourhoods of Heston and Southall where Chadha spent her childhood and youth and where many of her family and friends still live.
In the good-humoured commentary - I get the impression that working with this director must be a lot of fun - we hear the usual observations about locations, camera shots, casting, and music, but the origins of the story, its inspiration, is left largely untold. Keira was just sixteen when the film was shot in 2001, having just finished her GCSEs, and Chadha thought then that she "will be a huge star". In the commentary (made in 2002), Chadha and her husband talk of doing a sequel, but I am not sure if this was ever done.
Other extras on my DVD include a fifteen-minute behind-the-scenes featurette, as well as fifteen minutes of deleted scenes.
on 19 March 2006
Well it was made in 2002 but really the only Asian movies I’ve seen have been based on Pakistani people or Hindu people. Does any one realize Sikh’s exist? Well they do now. I think this movie is good as it shows people the different religions within the South Asian community. This movie tapped on Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims, Englishness, sexuality and the off side rule like no other movie has even mentioned it.
In a way I find this movie very close to my heart. As I am Sikh, I am female, I love football, I support Liverpool [Come on you reds] and I used to play football [Not Hounslow Harriots] Slough Town. The only difference is my family supported me all the way but I never made it pro but I still love the game. A lot of my footballing buddies were in that movie as extras which made it even more special.
Some of the things said in the scenes were very close to reality: Parminder going on about what kind of reaction her family will give to out side cultures very any other director could have got it horribly wrong but because Gurinder has the ability to do it in such a tongue and cheek manner she gets away with it.
And Southall Broadway on the big screen… well I never thought I’d see the day. The girls in the park perving on the guy’s great role reversal on the sexes.
This is by far her best movie and has introduced the world to some fresh British Blood. Including: Archie Punchabi, Parminder Nagra, Keira Knitley and Jonathan Rhys Meyers. All of the actors have become successful. Archie now stars in BBC three’s Grease Monkey’s, Parminder now stars in ER, Keira has continued to star on the big screen so has Mr Meyers. This movie was a great stepping stone for everyone involved. The only thing that ticked me off about it was the title [Bend It like Beckham.] But I no I no the title gave it a wider appeal due to Beckham’s name, which means more capital. But at the end of the day this is a great British Punjabi movie, so I have no complaints.
The story: 18 year old football-crazy Jess comes from a strict Indian family where "good Indian girls" aren't meant to like football. They're meant to focus on their studies and then be a good wife to someone from a good family. But Jess can't get football off her mind. When she meets Jules, an equally football-crazy girl in her neighbourhood, who plays on the local girls football team, it opens her world to new possibilities.
This is a well-paced, funny, British comedy that deals with overcoming stereotypes. The story is really fun to watch unfold and I really did get a few good chuckles throughout.
The room for improvement:
Some of the acting isn't great by some of the actors. At times I felt like the acting level was like school-level drama, although some actors are better than others. In places I felt like the script needed a little tweaking to feel more realistic and natural. At times it felt like lines were being recited rather than being acted.
An enjoyable movie, that I enjoyed, even as a gori :P I think the movie may particularly resonate with the Indian community who can relate to the main character most strongly, but I suspect all cultures may enjoy this movie since it gives an interesting, (perhaps exaggerated) humorous insight into the ways of the British Indian community.
on 17 July 2015
Bend It Like Beckham is a dvd that I purchased after being exposed to and seeing the movie on television and/or the internet (around 2005/2006 when I was living in Mayport, Florida through the United States Navy). Anyhow, Bend It like Beckham is a feature about a female named Jesminder Jess Kaur Bhamra (Parminder Nagra)who has a strong passion for playing soccer. The problem with her hobby is that her parents, especially her father, are still adjusting to what she wants in life versus what they want for her. Jess loves her family, but is trying to come to terms with reconciling her dreams with keeping a strong connection with her family members. Some pop culture references; The character of Jess is shown admiring a picture of famous soccer player David Beckham (also known as husband to Spice Girl alum/fashion designer Victoria Beckham) and snippets of the song Inner Smile by Texas feature in Bend It Like Beckham. Two of the characters that Jess meets through her soccer playing Juliette Jules Paxton (Keira Knightley) and Joe (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) dramatically change her life in different ways and are both important to her growth in some way.
on 10 October 2010
A simply wonderful film, I've watched it so many times and absolutely love it, same goes for Bride and Prejudice! Nice extras too, terrific DVD.
on 4 June 2009
I saw this movie ages ago. Before even knowing who Keira Knightly was. So, a picture on the front of her didn't make me see the movie. And it's not Keira who's worth it, it's Parminder K. Nagra!
What a 'feel good' movie. I'm not into football nor bollywood, but this is a story about an Indian girl, trying to fight for what she believes in. In her case easier said than done, because her Indian background doesn't allow her to do so. The movie is about struggles, love and a lot of misunderstanding. It makes me realise that people should be grateful for all the things achieved, without being hold back by your background.
Yes, there's a moral in the movie. But somehow.. it's just more than that. It's so much fun to watch it! There's Jess with an urge to break the social norm of the Indian homemaker, her sister who's sexually-active (but the parents can't know), a gay Indian, a mum who is trying to understand her football playing daughter... This movie is very convincing and honest, really refreshing.
Yes, this movie is a 5 star movie. Not because of the special effects, but just... because. Beckham should be proud his name is in the title! So, spend your money on it. It's worth it!
on 14 February 2003
...nonetheless it's very much a snap-shot of life. I think every college going/20-something Asian who lives in the UK could relate to some aspect of the film. Make your parents watch it if you are one of those and they too will certainly appreciate what a paradox it is to grow up in a 'foreign' culture. It will certainly make you laugh. It's well acted, and the directon was very good.