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Bend it Like Beckham

Who wants to cook Aloo Gobi when you can bend a ball like Beckham? 

Year: 2002 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 12A Cert – Under 12s admitted only with an adult 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  

Bend It Like Beckham is a film that attempts to deal with adolescent angst, arranged marriages, racism, disfigurement, self-belief, homosexuality, parental disagreements, trust, idolisation, jealously, class divides, female bonding, cultural breakdown and the coming of age. While it might not fully explore all these themes, it's a romantic comedy with an interesting idea.

Jess is an 18-year old whose elder sister is getting married and whose parents want her to be doing likewise as soon as possible. However she is far more interested in playing football like her idol David Beckham (who can bend a ball well, as we are reminded no less than 10 times in the movie!) than learning how to cook Aloo Gobi and become the perfect wife. Against her parent's wishes she joins a local girls football team and numerous plot shennanigans lead to misery for all involved until the climax.

While Gurinder ChadraÕs film might sound a bit cliched, it's not without its redeeming features. The performances are solid and likeable; only Juliet StevensonÕs image obsessed housewife seems a little too much like it was fashioned from the back of a corn flakes packet for comfort. JessÕs adolescent dreaming and view of life are also neatly captured at points, especially in the opening sequence where she fantasies about scoring the winner for Man United and having pundits heaping praise upon her, only for her mother to invade her daydream and chastise Gary Lineker and company for encouraging her.

Bend it Like Beckham aims for the emotional resonance of films like East Is East, and very nearly achieves it. A 'trials of teenage life' film with more than one twist, it makes for both a through-provoking and entertaining piece of cinema.

David Goody

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Screenings of this film:

2002/2003 Autumn Term (35mm)
2002/2003 Autumn Term (35mm)