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Bend it Like Beckham

Soccer Fans Unite!

We all could use some feel-good warm & fuzzy vibes right now. Something that makes you temporarily forget the state of the world and drown out the omnipresent war coverage. The comedy Bend it Like Beckham is the movie to do just that.

Director Gurinder Chadha (Bhaji on the Beach, What's Cooking?) along with writers Guljit Bindra and former SF resident Paul Mayeda Berges have created a heartwarming story about a young soccer-obsessed Anglo-Indian woman, Jesminder "Jess" Bhamra (Parminder K. Nagra) who, along with a shrine in homage to futbol supah-star and all-around hunk Mr. David Beckham, is blessed with a knack for the "beautiful game." Her talents catch the notice of Jules (Keira Knightley) and Jess finds herself getting recruited to join the local women's team.

However, her dad (Bollywood blockbuster actor Anupam Kher in his first English language feature) and her overwrought mom (Shaheen Khan) do not approve; they want her to be a "nice" young lady who stays at home hanging out in the kitchen rather than running around in shorts on the soccer field. Complicating the matter is her sassy older sister Pinky's (Archie Panjabi) upcoming nuptials.

Despite the not-so-subtle lesbo-action going on between the two young ladies, Jess has her eyes on her oh-so-sexy-it-hurts coach Joe (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers) and even contemplates having a fling with her best friend Tony (Ameet Chana).

While Chadha's other films have been thoughtful and nuanced, this flick is not. Honestly, you're not going to have some kind of life-altering experience after watching this movie. The characters are only 2-dimensional - if that - and the love interests could be construed as cliché. That being said - this movie is fantastic. It does what it's supposed to do - make you have fun and forget the hardships of life for a mere 1.5 hours.

The acting is on par and strays away from the exaggerated overacting usually found in comedies. The whole cast has great comedic timing, particularly Jules' mother Paula played by actress Juliet Stevenson, who steals absolutely every one of her scenes. Kudos to the casting agents for they couldn't have done a better job. There is a sizzling chemistry between Rhys-Meyers and Nagra - their flirtatious yet sweet interactions may have you tittering in your seat like a little schoolgirl. The soundtrack is outstanding and accompanies the emotion of the film perfectly.

The chances are exorbitantly high that you'll walk out of the theater after having watched this movie with your soul uplifted, as if floating on air. And in these uncertain times, we could all use a bit of that indeed.


Bend it Like Beckham
Rated PG-13
1 hour 52 minutes

Keira Knightley
Parminder Nagra
Jonathan Rhys-Meyers
Anupam Kher
Archie Panjabi