Movie Review: Bend It Like Beckham

“Bend it Like Beckham” (2002), directed by highly credited Gurinder Chadha is a remarkable film that reflects the difference of gender stereotypes and reality. Jess Bhamra is the main protagonists and is used to challenges traditional gender roles throughout the film. She is an Indian football player who is forced to play in secret due to her strict and concerned parents. Being born into a family with a strong sense of culture does have a major impact on the choices you make in life. Believing that a female should not be allowed to play football, hindering Jess’s dream of going professional.

Bend it Like Beckham is a 2002 comedy sports consisting in England. They are a highly religious Indian family with strict rules and regulations that the family must follow. The youngest of the family being Jess. She is forced pray to their god Guru Nanak and live by their religion. This idea can be extrapolated upon quite easily when one considers the challenge Jess has afront with her family believing sport is a place for men, and women belong in the kitchen. This can be further developed through Jess’s body language the audience sees her emotions on being forced into a traditional Indian gender role, forced into Indian culture by cooking and cleaning instead of doing someone she would enjoy, playing football. when Jess lies to her parents saying she was staying whith her aunty. However, Jess deceived her parents to join her team in their trip to Germany to play soccer.

The film director has used expert techniques to create a female character that contradicts stereotypical female character types. This idea can be demonstrated further with the directors use use camera shots effectively to portray the clash between the worlds of football and Jess’s Indian heritage. This is evident in the scene where Jess is juggling a cabbage, practicing her football skills whilst her strict mother is cooking a traditional Indian meal, annoyed that Jess’s inability to cook chapattis. Furthermore, the director analysis clothing and film techniques within the film to break the female gender stereotype. Gurinde Chadha can be seen doing this with costuming and film techniques in the same shot. The director uses these techniques to symbolise that Jess does not belong with the stereotypical girls and would rather do play soccer even with the criticism she faces.

The film, “Bend it like Beckham” gives an insight into the life of Jesminder Bhamra, an Indian girl with a passion for football. An Indian girl who chases a dream, disobeying her parents. An Indian girl who breaks the female stereotype. Although Jesminder encountered many difficulties with her over controlling parents and strict culture, she persisted by taking many risks in an attempt to achieve her goal of pursuing a professional career in football. Being raised in a family with a strong sense of culture, Jess was unable to achieve her main goal in life, a professional career in football. Jess did manage to successfully achieve her goal, through earning a scholarship to play football professionally in America. To play football would be going against tradition, against her parent’s laws, against their way of life. 

16 December 2021
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