Bend It Like Beckham

Institute History


In soccer matches, the line between opposing teams is cut-and-dry: It's one team against the other. In life it's not that simple, although there are often distinct opponents: East versus West, parents versus children, boys versus girls. Gurinder Chadha, whose second feature, What's Cooking?, opened the 2000 Sundance Film Festival, playfully and intelligently uses these conflicts to structure a heartwarming story about a young Indian girl living in England who attempts to pursue her dream of playing soccer against the wishes and demands of her traditional family.

Jess has two loves: soccer and British soccer legend David Beckham. Unfortunately she comes from a strict Indian family that feels sports are a waste of time. Since she must hide her soccer playing, she is relegated to playing pickup games in the park with her guy friends. However, when Jules, who is on a competitive girls' team spots her and asks her to join, she is forced to choose between tradition and her beloved sport.

Delightfully colorful characters, great cinematography (notably during the matches), and breakout performances by two young actresses, Parminder Nagra (Jess) and Keira Knightley (Jules Paxton), elevate Bend It Like Beckham beyond the familiar and into the memorable.

— Trevor Groth

Screening Details

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