Fielding the Family
Bend it Like Beckham
Review by Ross Anthony

For those that don't know (I didn't), Beckham is a soccer (football) superstar. And 'bending it' refers to the curving path of a kicked ball around a wall of defensemen. An apt metaphor for the maneuver energetic teens of strict parents must do in order to score goals of their own.

This formula film blends E. Indian culture with the ambitions of a young talented footballer. Her Indian family lives in England and holds to tradition tight enough to either strangle their children or make liars out of them. Apparently the latter is preferred.

Actually, the conflicts this teen faces are quite universal. Indian, Chinese, Greek, American... parents can often be over protective and/or overly attached to values not valued by their offspring.

It's a warm fun movie with a good sense of humor. The action plays second fiddle to the character conflicts. The film does indulge in coincidence and a bit too often bangs the same beat (i.e.: "Oh look -- they must be gay!"). The second act drags, ping-ponging over already trodden ground before kicking into a formula conclusion.

Still, the film squarely has something elusive to many other films -- heart. That, the strong endearing performances by the leads, and a good sense of humor earn this cute picture a B+ in my book, but I think teens will absolutely love it.

"Who's going to want a girl that can't even make round chappati?"

  • Bend it Like Beckham. Copyright © 2003. 113 minutes, Not Rated.
  • Starring Parminder Nagra, Keira Knightley, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Anupam Kher, Archie Panjabi, Shaznay Lewis, Frank Harper, Juliet Stevenson, Shaheen Khan.
  • Directed by Gurinder Chadha.
  • Screenplay by Gurinder Chadha, Guljit Bindra, Paul Mayeda Berges.
  • Produced by Deepak Nayar, Gurinder Chadha at Helkon SK/Kintop/Roc Media/Road Movies. (c) 2003.

Grade..........................B+ (2.5/4)

Copyright © 2001. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit:

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:19:00 PDT