Bend It Like Beckham [2002]

Bend It Like Beckham is true girl power. This glorious comedy centers on Jess (Parminder Nagra), an Indian girl born in England whose only desire is to become a football--or, as we say on this side of the Atlantic, soccer--star like her idol, David Beckham; but her traditional family refuses to even consider it. With the help of her new friend Juliet (Keira Knightley), Jess secretly joins a girls' team under the guidance of a male coach (Jonathan Rhys Meyers). As the team starts to gain some attention, Jess's secret can't be kept forever. The story of Bend It Like Beckham is so genuine and detailed that it transcends all the sports-movie formulas that it also fulfills with cheeky exuberance. Wonderfully acted, and written and directed with loving care by Gurinder Chadha (Bhaji on the Beach, What's Cooking?), this movie is pure delight from start to finish. --Bret Fetzer

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