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Still shot from the movie: Bend It Like Beckham.

Bend It Like Beckham

While marrying a nice Indian boy in a customary wedding ceremony and learning to cook a Punjabi dinner doesn't seem like a problem for her sister Pinky (Archie Panjabi), Jess would rather be out in the park, playing a good game of soccer with the neighborhood boys. Get the movie review and more. »

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Overall: B+
Violence: A-
Sexual Content: B-
Language: C-
Drugs/Alcohol: C+
Run Time: 112
Theater Release: 01 Aug 2003
Video Release:
MPAA Rating: PG-13
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What happens when Mom and Dad's plans for a nice traditional future don't jive with your own? For Jessminder ?Jess? Bhamra (Parminder K. Nagra), a young orthodox Sikh living in London, it's the start of trouble.

While marrying a nice Indian boy in a customary wedding ceremony and learning to cook a Punjabi dinner doesn't seem like a problem for her sister Pinky (Archie Panjabi), Jess would rather be out in the park, playing a good game of soccer with the neighborhood boys. Despite her family's annoyance, even her room is plastered with pictures of her idol, soccer sensation David Beckham, instead of the usual girl stuff.

But pursuing the sport beyond an occasional pickup game seems impossible until Jess meets Jules Paxton (Keira Knightly), a member of a local woman's soccer team. Having watched Jess play with the guys, Jules is sure she'd be an asset to the group. Convincing her to come along for tryouts, Jules introduces her new friend to their coach Joe (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers). Despite the lack of proper equipment and experience, Jess has natural talent that shines on the field and she is soon added to the team roster.

But telling her parents (Anupam Kher, Shaheen Khan) about the upcoming games is out of the question and so starts the film's biggest problem. Rather than come clean about her chance to play, Jess bends the truth about where she is, not once, not twice but repeatedly -- even after she's been caught. Unfortunately, that issue along with some salty language and a scene involving an inebriated athlete are the principal snags in this otherwise heartwarming, cross-cultural story.

Fusing skill with passion, these gifted young adults learn to play with their hearts and lead their team to several wins. They even earn the right to compete in a German tournament in front of an athletic scout. With a chance to earn scholarships at American schools, both female competitors are eager to play well on the field. But when a bout of jealously develops over Joe, their friendship is threatened as well at their scoring opportunities.

Realizing the strikes are against her, Jess initially tries to appease her parents' concern and deflect the whispered remarks and disapproving looks of her community. But while struggling to find a life path that is right for her, she learns to stick to her cleats and follow her dream to Bend It Like Beckham.

Bend It Like Beckham is rated PG-13: for language and some sexual situations

Cast: Parminder Nagra, Keira Knightly, Jonathan Rhys Meyers

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About the Reviewer: Kerry Bennett

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