Written by Luke Barnes
Bend It Like Beckham is a sport coming of age comedy film directed by Gurinder Chadha. The plot sees Jess (Parminder Nagra), try to pursue a career in football despite her parents wishes.
I enjoyed this films depiction of ‘football mad England’, its approach is far more subtle and thoughtful than films like Football Factories or Green Streets would have you believe. I thought Jess as a character was very easy to warm to, and also very relatable. We could see the identity crisis she was facing, and we sympathise as the character almost becomes like a friend to us over the course of the film.
I thought the ending of the film were she gets to go and become a professional footballer in America is heart warming and just the right amount of feel good resolution that makes you think ‘hey maybe things will be okay’.
My main issue with the film would be that the central romance between Joe (Johnathan Rhys Meyers), and Jess is troublesome on several levels. Firstly, the love triangle between Jess, Jules (Keira Knightly), and Joe feels a bit too male fantasy, and secondly because he is the coach of the team and both of his female love interests are players on the team, meaning the power dynamic is icky.
A bigger question not just for this film, but also applicable more generally, was a romance plot line actually needed at all?
Overall, a feel good film on the surface but troublesome underneath.
The romance plot line
Some of the wider messages