Bend It Like It Beckham

July 16, 2008

Bend It Like It Beckham
Jesminder is unlike any other girl. She is very un-stereotypical. She has this intense passion and love for the ‘Beautiful-Game’ (as described by Pele) football. Her room is genuinely a holy place to the Manchester United player David Beckham. Jess’s room is filled with football posters. However, David Beckham has been described as a ‘skinhead boy’ from Jess’s mom. This is because she is tired of telling Jess not to watch football all the time.

Jess is British born and comes from a pious Sikh family. Jess is very talented and gifted at football. She plays like a professional footballer with skills and great balance. On the other side it is David Beckham who inspires Jess; David Beckham is highly inspirational to her as he is the stimulation of Jess’s mind.  Jess always admires him and claims “Nobody can bend it like Beckham”. 

Jess usually plays football in the park near her house to show off her rare talent with spectacular skills. Playing football keeps her alive and fresh. It is as if football is her medicine.

On other hand, her parents are very stereotypical throughout the film. They have high educational hopes for Jess. They want her to complete school, learn to cook Punjabi food and marry a proper Indian. This also goes for Jess’s older sister Pinky as well. She is already engaged and will be married within a few weeks. She is not football mad like her sister but both cross the cultural boundaries from two different scenarios. So, she does keep secrets about herself and her beau who lately have been having to feeling each other in his car. The two sisters; Pinky and Jess have a good relationship with keeping each other’s private life into secrets. One sister spending time with her future husband and the other playing in a football club, both without letting their parents know. This means both sisters have crossed cultural limitations on a daily basis. They try not to bring their private lives in their homes due to parental expectations. When parents don’t know about what is happening or what has happened e.g. like Jess playing football, then it won’t really matter. It won’t touch parent’s awareness unless if they find out or are told. This advice is also given by Jess’s best mate Tony “What your parents don’t know won’t hurt them”.       

However, their farther has a different view. He’s a liberal and a generous guy and he wants everyone to be happy in the family. But he is left confused wavering between his daughters’ choices and traditional minded wife. His main worry about Jess is not to be treated in the same as way as he was earlier on. When Jess’s farther arrived in England from Uganda as a young enthusiastic cricketer, with his wife. He wanted to join and play for a white team however as a return some racist comments were exposed – comments were thrown on his turban that he wore. Ever since, he has been with his own community, getting pleasure from his daughter’s position as she don’t get to experience the ordeal in the same way as her farther did. However Jess’s mom sees from a different point of view, she doesn’t want her daughter to show up with bare legs “to complete strangers”.

Fortunately, Jess is good at finding ways out of her difficulties as she gasps play for girls’ football club Hounslow Harriers. In the locker room, she tells and educates the white girls to enlighten the fact of what it feels like to be her. She explains by saying”Indian girls aren’t supposed to play football”. “That’s a bit backwards” notices one of her team-mates. Nevertheless, Jess has the idea of what it is that pulls her back from playing football as she says “It’s just culture, that’s all”.

For the most part the heartbeat of film is based on “culture”. The film also uses some montage editing. Montage editing is an art of putting pictures on top of another source.

Audience with similar age of Jess or viewers who remember themselves being in that position in the past will have the idea of Jess’s emotions as they been through this before. The reason for this was to draw a realistic character – that is Jess. She bemoans on her background and cultural restrictions. Viewers can understand the experience and her response to people around her. But her parents especially her mom cannot realize what it is with Jess and her football. The film highlights the contradictions and common features of life. It also highlights how the assumptions and expectations affect someone’s life experience especially girls.

Girls in any other films are not represented in the same way as Jess is in ‘Bend It Like Beckham’. Well-liked films like Yank, Princess Diaries or even What a girl Wants are cross-cultural girl movies. These are movies where girls go past their parental restrictions and easily break the rules as they are not aware of anything around them. Gurinder Chadha (Director of BILB) portrays her character as a persuasive one and draws adults as less realistic and over-stereotypical characters.

Later on in the film, the sisters have a grudge with reluctance of keeping each other secrets. Jess also repels with her best team-mate Jules. The two have a lot of things in common: parental-issues, both hunting for their football dream etc. Jules’s edgy mom thinks playing football or sports are activities that are unladylike. Both friends Jules and Jess hunt for a football a football future. Jules wants to attend the university in States with a scholarship. Jules’s bedroom is also filled posters but of Mia Hamm. Both friends develop a fast paced relationship above all this is where viewers get to see the sights of differences between the two backgrounds. Unfortunately, a few problems arise when Pinky’s future in law spot Jess and Jules on the pavement laughing together in public. Pinky’s futures in law observe the wrongs thoughts in their heads as they assume the shorthaired Jules was a male. They also thought Jess was in a relationship with a white male. On the other end, Jules’s mom thinks that Jules is lesbian, falling in love with a girl. Wrong thoughts like these shape the character and due to what Pinky’s future in law saw as a result they turned down the wedding. Similarly, another issue awakens when Jess falls in love with an Irish born coach, Joe.
All the wrong thoughts, grudges, hatred feelings end in a mixed mouthwatering dénouement that goes through Pinky’s wedding night and Jess’s very important football final. The cultures continue to strike one another with disagreement but in way of answering back respectively.

by NAVEED ABBAS

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