A comedy about bending the rules to reach your goal, Bend It Like Beckham explores the world of women's football, from kick-abouts in the park to freekicks in the Final. Set in Hounslow, West London and Hamburg, the film follows two 18 year olds with their hearts set on a future in professional soccer. Heart-stopping talent doesn't seem to be enough when your parents want you to hang up your football boots, find a nice boyfriend and learn to cook the perfect chapatti. Written by
As an anti-football person, I (on the surface) grudgingly took my younger brother to see this film, although secretly I hoped it might be East is East II. The trailers looked fun so I thought I'd give it a go.
It took about ten minutes but after that I was glued to the screen, and that wasn't anything to do with the neck cramp caused by sitting too near the front due to a packed auditorium. The acting was fresh and vibrant, the characters engaging, and the jokes genuinely funny. The entire auditorium was laughing out loud every minute or so. Football fan or no football fan, sport became irrelevant to the main principles of love, friendship, family, independence and rivalry. Add a dash of Sikh culture and you have the formula for the best British comedy I've seen in a long time, dare I say it.... better than East is East.
This film trots along nicely at a lovely pace, never dwelling on anything longer than necessary nor leaving anything unfinished, keeping the viewer entertained and mentally engaged. Though not a characteristically twisting-and-turning film, there are some pleasant surprises on the way and things don't always happen as you would expect.
Saying that, there were elements of predictability but these were exploited satirically more than used as script-fillers. I suppose depending on your particular penchant for happy-endings you could be either delighted/let down by the ending. Personally, if there was any other outcome I would have written a strongly worded letter to the script writers.
As for the actors, I would have to say that Juliet Stevenson (Paula) put in the finest performance. I never knew that people like that existed but she her realism with sometimes bizarre concepts has convinced me that they possibly do! Prize for the most unconvincing (of the main characters) goes, unfortunately, to Kiera Knightley (Jules), but don't get me wrong, even she offered a great performance, it's just that someone has to be last of the best and sorry Kiera, this time you're it.
Tip: Don't leave before the credits. Once the lights came back up I realised to my horror that perhaps I shouldn't have watched this film after all. My beloved but forgotten Ice Junkie had melted into a sugary blue juice. Oh, what am I saying, it was absolutely brill and I can't recommend it enough. I will definitely buy it when it comes out and add it to my collection of 3 videos. I'm a student. I only splash out if it's really worth it.
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