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Bend It Like Beckham
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Reviews & Ratings for
Bend It Like Beckham More at IMDbPro »

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126 out of 165 people found the following review useful:

A fun, refreshing movie

10/10
Author: robbiezangel from Missouri, Usa
3 November 2004

Okay, first of I hate commenting on this thing but I felt like I had to stand up for this movie. So many people were bashing on it and I felt like people who might want to see it should get a second opinion.

First off, Bend It Like Beckham is not meant to be the most profound movie of the century. If that's what you're looking for go somewhere else. Just because it is an independent film does not mean it has to be artsy. It's supposed to make you feel good and you're supposed to have fun watching it and those two things are handily accomplished.

Secondly, the acting though not "Halle Berry in Monster's Ball" is still good. The movie doesn't need acting like that honestly so don't look for it. It's a family movie. If that's what you wanted you wouldn't or shouldn't even be looking into this movie honestly.

Lastly, It has a really cute story. I think it's thought out well and it's entertaining to watch. It's also very true to life for the most part for that culture so if you want to sit down and watch a movie that you can enjoy and feel good about when you're finished. If you're looking for something with deep thought out plot lines and big dramatic scenes this is not for you.

-Lyndsay

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92 out of 103 people found the following review useful:

A Crowd-pleasing Charmer

Author: Roland E. Zwick (magneteach@aol.com) from United States
18 October 2003



`Bend It Like Beckam' is a heartwarming charmer about a young girl's search for identity in 21st Century England. Like `Fiddler on the Roof,' `Beckam' deals with the painful struggles tradition-bound cultures must go through as they enter a looser, more freedom-loving modern world. The culture in this case is that of immigrant and first-generation Indians living in Great Britain. As with all such tales, it is the young folk who feel the need to pull away from the stuffy values of the past, and who end up dragging the reluctant older folk kicking and screaming into the future right along with them.

Jess Bharma is a fairly typical teen with dreams of becoming a world-class soccer player. However, Jess also comes from a very traditional Indian family that believes a girl should not play around with boys, show her legs in public, or aspire to much beyond marrying a good Indian boy and raising a family. We've seen this kind of set-up countless times before and `Bend It Like Beckam' will certainly not win any prizes for creativity or originality. It does, however, have a youthful exuberance and a generous spirit that can't help but captivate even the most diehard, coldhearted cynic. Parminder K. Nagra is utterly winning as young Jess, capturing all the innate optimism and unquenchable enthusiasm of this irrepressible character. She receives superb support from a cast of outstanding actors, both young and old, including Keira Knightley as Jules, her inspirational buddy who provides Jess with the opportunity to bring her dreams to fruition; Jonathan Rhys-Meyers as Joe, the handsome young coach who provides lessons in love along with lessons in soccer; Anupam Kher as Jess' father, who turns out to have some of his own personal demons to deal with; Shaheen Khan as Jess' mother, who doesn't understand why her daughter can't be content with the pre-ordained life her parents have laid out for her; and Juliet Stevenson as Jules' mother, who proves that Indians don't hold a patent on tradition-obsessed parents. In its quiet, gentle way, the film also confronts the issue of racism, particularly in terms of how the Indians are often still treated as second-class citizens in British society.

As directed by Gurinder Chadha, `Bend It Like Beckham' is a light-on-its-feet `feel-good' film that never takes itself too seriously. The movie suffers a bit from a sitcom mentality, as when, for instance, Jules' parents labor under the illusion that their daughter and Jess are actually lesbian lovers. The plotting, in addition to being predictable at times, often seems contrived and excessively melodramatic (the rivalry between Jess and Jules over Joe being the primary offender). But this isn't enough to do any serious damage to the film as a whole.

Thus, if you're looking for a film that is easygoing, uplifting and comfortably old-fashioned in its demeanor and theme, `Bend It Like Beckham' is for you.

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83 out of 96 people found the following review useful:

Fun, Energetic, and Altogether Wonderful

9/10
Author: DrunkenMasterIV from United States
23 October 2005

Wow, I can't believe I waited so long to see this film. I just never got around to watching it. The plot has nothing that interests me. I know nothing about soccer (football.) I am one of those American fools that has no clue. I had never even seen David Beckham before this film. I chose to ignore the buzz surrounding this film at the time it was released in America. Enough about me.

Truth be told, it was a mistake to ignore this little piece of movie-making heaven. What a fun film. It's full of color and exuberance. I had a goofy grin on my face through the whole movie. Parminder Nagra is so sweet and lovable, you can't help but root for her. No wonder why the American television show E.R. has snatched her up. I have a new appreciation for Indian culture. Those people know how to have a good time. The wedding scenes are dazzlingly beautiful.

The only problem I had was deciphering some of the British slang and dialogue through the accents. I turned on the English subtitles to make sure I didn't miss anything. (This is not a criticism of the film!) I'm sure audiences worldwide have trouble understanding the constantly changing slang in American films as well.

This is a perfect date film. It has a great sports plot like Rocky, and a strong sense of feminism that is empowering for women. I watched it with my wife, and sixteen year old niece, and we all loved it. I highly recommend it.

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64 out of 82 people found the following review useful:

A southern East Is East

8/10
Author: Jub-2 from Manchester, England
13 April 2002

The title of this film nearly put me off watching it. Not being a Manchester United fan, the mere mention of Beckham was a bit off putting, however I put my prejudices behind me and I'm glad I did.

I wasn't expecting much of a film, but I was pleasantly surprised. The film sped along with me never looking at my watch and I enjoyed every second of the film. If you liked East is East then you'll love this film. OK so the storyline is nothing new, and the classic storylines are contained within the film but it's all done very funnily, and with a breath of fresh air. The film moves very fast and keeps the audiance entertained. The occaisional funny moments are a good chuckle and not some poor attempt at humour, and best of all it's a good british comedy.

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65 out of 90 people found the following review useful:

I LOVE THIS MOVIE.

10/10
Author: giatime from Los Angeles
4 October 2003

As a former 2 time Okinawan Karate world champion, I like movies about sacrifice for sport. But this movie is about so much more. This movie is so good and so deep. I have recently been plagued by very serious injury and pretty much a disastrous lack of passion. Almost lights out for me. And this silly little movie touched me so deep that like out of a daze it reminded me about what life is supposed to be about. This is a movie about living. Living your life for yourself and respect for others. Empowerment. God, bless "Bend it like Beckham" I believe it is a true gem.

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37 out of 46 people found the following review useful:

Mississippi Masala meets Chariots of Fire

Author: hheston from Arvada, CO
6 April 2003

This movie might best be characterized as a collection of formulas - underdog sports flick, culture clash flick, generational conflict flick, young-love-overcomes-obstacles flick. The setting of transplanted Indian-ness makes it feel like one of Mira Nair's films - `Monsoon Wedding' or `Mississippi Masala.' There's also quite a bit of youthful, flippant, foul-mouthed, blue-collar London impertinence going on - an episode of `Eastenders,' perhaps.

And yet to dismiss the movie with this quick sketch and a few references would do it a terrible injustice. OK, no, it is perhaps not `great.' It's a feelgood movie, and while it dips a bit into serious subject waters, it doesn't stay down too long. And, it really IS a collection of all these movie formulas - and, I submit, they do exactly what they're intended to do. It's ALMOST too much, but it's not. The formulas lead to their inevitable pay offs, of course, but they pay off in ways that are not quite expected. The final outcome is rarely in doubt, but throughout the twists and turns, the audience (at least the audience where I was watching), find themselves shamelessly twisting their hankies on the sidelines, crying just a little where they're supposed to cry, and cheering when they can't but cheer. There is a point at which you want to stand up and clap wildly - it's not at the end, so you can't, but the audience where I saw it sure wanted to. I think they felt a little cheated that they couldn't. The mood of the end is not one conducive to raising the rafters, but many clapped softly anyway. Granted the movie isn't timed quite right, but it really IS that good - it makes you want to show your gratefulness for the efforts of writer, director, and actors.

Any flaws of timing or plausibility I find I can easily forgive due to the overwhelming charm of the movie's star, Parminder K. Nagra. Her expressions, her boundless energy and defiance, her ability to convey the conflict her character feels between duty to family and wishing for something more - I was completely taken in, from start to finish. This actress is going places. She has the kind of playful wit and irreverence you see in the best early John Cusack, coupled with a depth to play convincing disappointment and struggle. If you love `Say Anything,' with the passion that most true devotees, including me, do - you will love this film. In fact, if `Say Anything' is your favorite film, drop whatever you're doing and RUN out to see this film, before it leaves theatres. Drive 100 miles if you have to. It has that same magic.

It doesn't hurt that Ms. Nagra possesses a true, deep, classic beauty and grace akin to that of, say, a Kelly or a Bergman. I mean, my fellow red-blooded males, this woman is flat-out, drop-dead stunning. She's equally fetching as a feisty tomboy jock (my personal preference) or as an elegant, traditionally clad Sikh woman. Go see it to watch her, even if the subject matter isn't your thing.

It is perhaps not a great movie, but it's one that will, due to its sheer quirkiness and great heart, likely find its way onto the `favorites' shelves of many, and not just young girls aspiring to make it big and become soccer stars. Evidently the movie is a huge hit in England and Germany, and Parminder is well on her way to becoming a superstar. Go out and see what all the fuss is about.

P.S. I must beg to differ with the reviewer who claims that women's soccer is not big in the U.S. Women's soccer is HUGE in the U.S. - there are perhaps ten times as many young women playing soccer in America as in the whole of Europe. The U.S. national team is THE powerhouse international women's team, and has been for almost a decade. Brandi Chastain's shirt-removing gesture in the 1999 Women's World Cup, which graced the cover of Time, Newsweek and Sports Illustrated, has become iconic. Young women from around the world most certainly DO aspire to be on American college teams - North Carolina and Santa Clara, I believe, particularly. American Mia Hamm, far and away the greatest women's player of all time, dominates the sport like a Michael Jordan. I'm fairly sure the U.S. is the only country to have a professional women's soccer league (maybe Japan as well?). This film is fully aware of this. If girls' soccer coaches from age five on up don't make this film required viewing for their team, they should consider leaving coaching.

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44 out of 61 people found the following review useful:

No pact with the devil here

9/10
Author: jeannine1980
22 March 2005

My scalp still smarts from the burning coals heaped on it when I vowed I love this film. Bring on the coals; I'll walk over them as well to say again that I love "Bend it Like Beckham." Granted, there's a lot of "in spite of" in that confession. It's a bit movie-of-the-week; the screenplay is on the paint-by-numbers side. And, most troublingly, the director's commentary implies that in this film beauty can be found primarily amongst the white of skin.

The film's genius is not in what's obvious to the Syd Field-doctored eye: character arcs, themes, construction. It's in both the surface and what lurks deep beneath, but not in those layers of artistic topsoil that reviewers seem most often to scratch at. Powerful, sometimes semi-clad female bodies not simply on display but kicking the crap out of a football do a better job of naturalizing female strength and agility than Lara Croft or Zhang Ziyi will ever do. These are real bodies (Keira Knightley's excepted) whose work is not to look great first and kick butt later. They are working bodies whose beauty is in their movement and self-determination. And, in my book, lead actress Parminder Nagra is one of the most gorgeous creatures ever captured on screen – not only because she can lay claim to that hackneyed adjective, "luminous," but because her performance has an honesty and un-bookish intelligence that's utterly compelling.

The result is a film women can enjoy without feeling like they're making a pact with the devil to do so. As in Chadha's "Bride and Prejudice," the relationships amongst women sizzle with a chemistry that can't be neatly slotted into the stodgy, Sweet Valley High categories of "best friends" or "sisters." Perhaps Chadha is even right in her commentary to disavow the film's flirtation with lesbianism. "Bend it Like Beckham" has an electricity that can't be reduced to the simple hetero/homosexual love triangle its conventionally structured script would suggest. The precise nature of its pleasure is, ultimately, a bit of a mystery – and is all the more seductive for it.

Oh yes, and did I mention that it's hilarious?

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41 out of 56 people found the following review useful:

I will always remember this movie.

10/10
Author: Lee Eisenberg (lee.eisenberg.pdx@gmail.com) from Portland, Oregon, USA
8 September 2005

As someone who's never been into sports, it seems like it would be hard for me to get into the football (or as we Americans inexplicably call it, soccer)-themed "Bend It Like Beckham". But I gotta say, this was one cool movie! Anglo-Indian Jesminder Bhamra (Parminder Nagra) and her WASP friend Juliette Paxton (Keira Knightley) love to play football (yes, I'm going to say it the British - and international - way) and just adore football player David Beckham. But Jesminder's traditional Sikh parents don't approve (her mother offers a really whacked-out description of football early in the movie). Okay, so maybe it was sort of a cliché in that sense, but you gotta love this movie! And if like me, you go to this movie not knowing the definition of "bend" in football...don't worry, the movie explains it (I'd also never heard of David Beckham prior to this movie). And we all know that Keira Knightley hit it big: a few months after "BILB" came out in the States, she starred in the equally cool "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl".

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29 out of 40 people found the following review useful:

So much more than you'd expect!

10/10
Author: Kirsty (mcvitie_hehe) from London, England
25 April 2002

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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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Great Entertainment

8/10
Author: mjw2305 from England
16 February 2006

Jess is 18, very smart and wants nothing more than to play football, when she joins a local team she has to lie to her parents again and again, as they would never approve of her chasing her dream, they want her to settle down with a nice Indian boy and learn how to cook.

Bend it Like Beckham is a very funny feel good movie that doesn't need to be deep and complex, it's just fine as it is. The cast are all very good and they play their roles very well, the story is simple and predictable, but it works perfectly and the script is very realistic and very funny.

A great Family movie 8/10

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