Movie Review: Bend it Like Beckham

Bend it Like Beckham Trailer

Bend it Like Beckham Summary

Jesminder “Jess” Bhamra is the 18-year-old daughter of British Indian Sikhs living in Hounslow, London. Juliette “Jules” Paxton is the same age and the daughter of a white English family. Jess is infatuated with football, but because she is a woman, her conservative family won’t let her play. However, she sometimes plays in the park with boys, including her best friend, Tony, a closeted gay man. Jules’ father meanwhile is supportive of her passion for football, while her mother unsuccessfully tries to steer her more towards non-sporting girly activities.

Whilst on a jog through the park, Jules discovers Jess’s skills, befriends her, and invites her to try out for the local women’s football team, the Hounslow Harriers – coached by Joe. Jess is extremely happy and excited about the tryouts, but Joe is skeptical about a new player joining the team. After seeing Jess’s skills, Joe accepts her on the team; Jess lies to Joe about her parents being cool with the idea.

Jess’s parents eventually discover that Jess has been playing football behind their backs. They become more strict and forbid Jess to play in any more matches. The elder Bhamras are also distracted by their elaborate wedding plans for Jess’s older sister, Pinky. After Jess misses a couple of practices, Jules tells Joe that Jess had lied about her parents accepting her joining the team.

Joe pleads with Mr Bhamra to allow Jess to play, but Mr Bhamra refuses, revealing that he does not want Jess to suffer the way he did when he was excluded from a cricket club because of being Indian. Joe informs Jess that the team has been invited to play in Germany and with Pinky’s help in giving her an alibi, Jess rejoins the team.

Jess develops an attraction toward Joe, and when the team plays in Hamburg and goes out clubbing, Jules catches the pair about to kiss. Jules also is in love with Joe, and this sours the two girls’ friendship, as Jules is adamant that she had told Jess about her crush. Jess’s lie is uncovered again when Mr Bhamra sees a picture from Hamburg in a newspaper. Jess goes to Jules’s house to try to patch up their friendship, but Jules’s mother, confused, thinks they’re hiding a lesbian relationship.

Thanks to the skills of Jess and Jules, the Harriers have reached the finals of the league tournament. Unfortunately, the finals and Pinky’s wedding fall on the same day. Jess also receives mail that she’s passed her exams and will soon study to become a solicitor. Mr Bhamra is also upset with her after seeing her and Joe alone hugging after the semifinal, having secretly watched the game. Jess tries to accept life without football, throwing herself into Pinky’s wedding preparations. Joe tells Jules that an American scout is touted to attend the final. Jules tries to convince Jess to play the final despite their now-tense relationship, and Joe on the eve of Pinky’s wedding tries to convince Mr Bhamra one last time.

Joe accepts that Jess is not allowed to play and the final begins without her. But at Pinky’s wedding Jess is miserable, so Tony convinces Mr Bhamra to let Jess go. Having previously seen Jess play and somehow convinced by it, he reluctantly agrees, and Tony drives Jess to the game, where the Harriers are losing 1–0 with half an hour left. Jess and Jules equalize, and when Jess is awarded a free kick, she must bend the ball around the wall of players to score. She succeeds, and the Harriers win the tournament. Jess and Jules are offered sports scholarships at Santa Clara University in California – Jules informs her parents immediately, whereas Jess has trouble telling hers. Jules and her mother arrive at Pinky’s wedding so that Jules can celebrate with Jess. But when Mrs Paxton accuses Jess of being a hypocrite and a lesbian, Jules grabs her arm and runs off in shame.

Jess has still not told her parents about the scholarship – she is afraid they might not allow her to go to the United States on her own. Tony, out of friendship for Jess, decides to lie to the family and tell them he is engaged to Jess as long as she gets to go to any college she wants. Jess reveals the lie and her mother blames Jess’s father for allowing her to play. Jess’s father convinces her mother to accept Jess’s wishes after telling her he doesn’t want Jess to suffer as he did. Jess flees to the football field to tell Joe of her parents’ decision. The two almost kiss, but Jess pulls away, saying her parents would object, and that although they had come far enough to let her go to America to play, she doesn’t think they would be able to handle another cultural rebellion from her.

On the day of Jess and Jules’s flight to America, Jules’s mother gives her daughter a football jersey and wishes her good luck, this being her way of telling her daughter that she has accepted Jules’s decision. The two are about to board the plane when Joe arrives and confesses his love for Jess. The two kiss and Jess agrees to sort out their relationship (and her parents) when she returns for Christmas. While at the airport, they see David Beckham with his wife Victoria, which Jules takes as a sign. At a short undisclosed time later, Jess and Jules send their parents a team photograph, and it is revealed that Pinky is pregnant. Finally, Mr Bhamra is seen practising cricket with Joe’s help.

Bend it Like Beckham Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I loved this film when it came out. It was interesting to see Indian traditions coincide with Western world. Jess deserved the world and while Jules was tying to be helpful, she also got extremely jealous when Jess and Joe got close. There was one scene that wasn’t appropriate for kids in terms of there needed to be a cobversation for kids but it is empowering to chase your dreams.

Did you ever play soccer? I did from 4 to 16. Mia Hamm was my role model.

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