Top positive review
31 October 2013
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.