Bend It Like Beckham Review

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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 are complications, of course, and for the most part, they logical develop from the characters. Primary to the movie, of course, is the conflict between Jess and her parents. The film manages to make their concerns frustrating but also understandable. The mother is focused on decency and custom and wants her daughter to learn the traditions of a normal Indian woman; her father has his own personal history with sports that guides his doubts. He was a great athlete but after arriving in England, he was met with racism that kept him competing. He just doesn't want his daughter to have to experience that kind of disappointment. In a way, we feel bad for blaming them; after all, they are relatively progressive. They have decided to allow their daughters to choose who they will marry for themselves. Shaheen Kahn plays the mother at a level of caricature that is funny because it seems natural. Anupam...
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