Understanding Bend It Like Beckham and Whale Rider

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Paikea. Paikea took this as an omen and tried to prepare herself to become leader, even though her grandfather opposed. However something that sets the Whale Rider plot apart from Bend It Like Beckham was the heavy focus on the Maori culture. The Maori culture has a heavy influence in this story which also leads the Paikea into making the necessary decisions about her leadership. Although there were many contrasts, Bend It Like Beckham and Whale Rider shared many similarities between their individual plots. One similarity between plots was that both of the protagonists were very ambitious. In both films, both of the protagonists are very driven and determined to do what they think they are capable of doing. And in the end both Jess and Paikea prove that their ambition is a force to be reckoned with.

Another thing that is comparable when viewing films are the themes that are present. In Bend It Like Beckham, a very evident theme is modesty. Throughout the course of the film Jess’ parents are always telling her that she needs to settle down, and stop playing soccer because she is not a little girl anymore. This was shown when Jess’ mother said, “He was touching you all over! Put his hands on your bare legs! You're not a young girl anymore!”(Gurinder Chadha) after seeing Jess in her soccer shorts playing with her male friends. In Whale Rider an obvious theme was tradition. Paikea’s grandfather, Koro, would not let Paikea become a leader because of the patriarchal traditions. Therefore to prove that she was capable of being a leader, despite the traditions and her grandfather’s opinions, Paikea learned how to use the taiaha (fighting stick) and learned the ancient Maori chants. Nonetheless, both films had several key themes. One of them that could be considered was female empowerment. Both films showed the female protagonists as characters who had to overcome many obstacles and that is very empowering for female viewers. For females to see other females pursuing...
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