By The Nerdling
The 2018 FIFA World Cup begins in two weeks and while I’m very disappointed the USA Men’s Team didn’t make the cut, I will still be tuning into the exciting tournament. Iceland and Panama will be represented for the first time in the competition ever. Peru will be making their first appearance since 1982. All this excitement has me going back and watching one of my favorite girl-power sports movies, Bend it like Beckham.
Starring Parminder Nagra, Keira Knightley, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Archie Panjabi, Anupam Kher, Shaheen Khan, and Ameet Chana, this delightful sports comedy tackles issues of pushing cultural norms, race, and identity in a multi-cultural London.
Jess Bhamra loves to play soccer (or football as the Brits say), but her traditional Punjabi family wants her to attend the local University and eventually settle down with a nice Indian man. Kicking around the ball with a group of friends in the park, Jess is scouted by Jules. Jess is invited to try-out for a local tournament team, the Hounslow Harriers who are coached by a former football pro, Joe. She makes the team and at the advice of her new friend, Jules, she lies to Joe about her family being okay with her playing. Jess must balance the expectations of her family, the obligations of her sister’s upcoming wedding, and the love of her sport.
I love movies about sports, especially when there is a family-expectations versus life-choices dynamic. I feel like Jess’s struggles are relatable for most women, even those who don’t play sports. I grew up in a traditional Mexican-American-Catholic family and chose a very different path than what my family hoped for me. It was a struggle for them to come to terms with my decisions. Some of the conversations Jess has with her parents are very close to the ones I had to have with my family.
Even if you don’t care about the World Cup or soccer, Bend it Like Beckham is a fun movie where girl-power and cultural identity take center stage.
Bend it like Beckham is available to rent on all streaming platforms.