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Review of

Bend It Like Beckham  (2002 - English)

Bend It Like Beckham movie review, and Bend It Like Beckham critics rating, comments on Bend It Like Beckham

Bend It Like Beckham cumulative rating: 3.7 out of 53.7/5 (14 users)

My Rating

  • Bend It Like Beckham rating: 0 out of 10(Dipen Guha wrote on 07 Nov 2009)

    In "Bend it Like Beckham" Gurinder Chadha draws on a range of cultural referents from contemporary Britain, including British pop, bhangra. Bollywood and UK black fusion music genres, to elaborate on the story of her main protagonist Jesminder/ Jess Bharma (Paminder Nagra). Jess wants to make it as a female soccer player and also becomes involved in a multiracial heterosexual romance. Jess also has to convince her family, especially her domineering matriarchal mother who wants nothing more than for Jess to settle down to a suitable arranged marriage, that she has a genuine ambition for the game and to bring them on her side. The film is primarily a heterosexual romance narrative infused with a feminist focus on female sexual agency that is supported by a queer subplot in the film. Jess's male best friend Tony (Amit Chana) comes out to her as gay and seeks her acceptance of his sexuality amidst his fears of a wider homophobic culture, and Jess's relationship with her football team mate, Juliette (Keira Knightley), is wrongly interpreted as a lesbian one by Jess's relatives with Juliette's mother. The film is an attempt to disrupt South Asian gender normativities of heterosexuality through changing the dominant gendered ideologies such as female chastity and virginity, multiracial romance, and arranged marriages. It can further be suggested that the popularity of this film, being hugely successful at both the British and US box-offices, is based on the accessibility and familiarity of these narratives to crossover viewers. Non-South Asian viewers may find these challenges not only non-threatening but also familiar and comfortable. The use of Bollywood referents alongside a diverse UK fusion popular culture aims to progress the emotions of the characters in the film.

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    Dipen Guha

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