Gregory G. H. Rihn (milwaukeesfs) wrote,
Gregory G. H. Rihn

Film Review: Bend it Like Beckham

Sunday evening, we went to the Oriental Theater to see Bend it Like Beckham, which is not SF or fantasy, but was a thoroughly charming movie. The protagonist, Jess, is a girl of Indian family, born and raised in England. She is mad for soccer (“football”) and has a splendid natural talent, which she has honed playing in the parks. She is recruited for a local women’s league, but runs into heavy resistance from her traditionalist mother, her father who was soured on the British sports establishment when he was refused admittance to any cricket club years before due to his ethnicity, and her sister, who is against anything that may jeopardize her impending marriage. The ‘Cinderella’ plot has a surprising number of complications. These include the hyper-feminine mother of her teammate Jules who can’t understand her tomboyish daughter, and the emotional entanglements of Jess, Jules, and Joe, the coach of the women’s team. One of my favorite lines from the movie occurs after Jess has been thrown out of a game for getting in an altercation: Jess: “She called me a ‘Paki’! I don’t suppose you know what that feels like!” Joe: “Of course I do. I’m Irish.” Wonderful performances by Parminder K. Nagra as Jess and Keira Knightly as the English Jules, and supported by a very able supporting cast. An interesting note on the evening was that, after we were seated in came about forty teenaged girls and some adults, evidently a local soccer team or league. They were quite rapt through the whole thing, and stood around the lobby discussing it animatedly afterward with evident enjoyment.
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