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Film Friday: Bend It Like Beckham

We're throwing it back to the early 2000's for this week's Film Friday with the classic film Bend It Like Beckham! It's interesting how so many motivational or inspirational films are about sports. While Bend It does focus around soccer (I mean, they reference David Beckham in the title), the film is also surprisingly deep and explores cultural traditions and norms as well. Comedy, drama, romance, and family are all tied up into this great treat of a film.

Bend It Like Beckham tells the story of Jesminder “Jess” Bhamra (played by Parminder Nagra), the daughter of two traditional Punjabi Sikhs in London, who defies against her parent's wishes and joins a local women's football team.

Bend It may be a fictional story but it has the strong ability to relate to many people's lives. Jess comes from a traditional Indian family who won't let her play football since she's a girl. The antics of her family and the various struggles Jess has to overcome in order to gain her family's support are all things that girls, minorities, or really just anyone has experienced at some point in their life.

Jess's passion lies in football. It's what she loves to do and it's what she's great at. The problem is that it is not traditionally acceptable in her culture for her to play football, but Jess goes against the stigma and the trouble it would cause her and proceeds to join the women's team. Though her family disapproves, Jess goes after her dreams and it is her strength and perseverance throughout that really inspires me personally. I can see parts of myself and people I know in Jess's character as well as in her family members. It may not be the most supported or well liked option, but why not travel the road less taken?

The movie overall is pure fun as well. Her family is loving as they are hilarious and eccentric. Jess's friendship with her teammate Jules, a young Kiera Knightley by the way, is a highlight of the film and a testament to female friendship. Of course, the football is great too and provides for some suspenseful and action packed game scenes that will have the audience rooting for Jess and her team. There's even a little bit of chemistry between Jess and her coach Joe, but I won't give too much of that away. I would definitely recommend Bend It Like Beckham! Jess is a strong female Indian lead, something sadly not see much in the entertainment industry today. Jess's endeavors to play football, please her family, and win with her friends and teammates all culminate into an entertaining film with laughs, love, and lots of football.

On the Ticket Stub Love meter, I give Bend It Like Beckham 5 out of 5 stars.

[Article originally published 03/03/2017]

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