Bend it Like Beckham

Director:

G. Chadha

Producer:

D. Nayar

Year:

2002

Distributor:

Rebus Film Distribution

Country:

UK

Running time:

112 min

Genre:

Comedy-drama

Format:

Colour

Availability:

DVD

Keywords:

soccer, athletic scholarship, woman athlete, cricket, Class Differences, Santa Clara University
Summary
The story of two buddies, who come from different religious, ethnic and social class backgrounds, but who share a love of football. They become standout players, lead their local team to victory, and are both offered full scholarships to play for Santa Clara University.

While the plot seems identical to those of hundreds of American college football films, there are a few important differences. The two friends are women: Jesminder "Jess" Bhamra (Parminder Nagra) is the 18-year-old daughter of Punjabi Sikhs from Hounslow, west London. Juliette "Jules" Paxton (Keira Knightley) is from an upper middle-class English family. Although they play football, the game is known as soccer in the United States (but nowhere else in the world). But what is also true is that the girls are, in fact, offered a full scholarship to play soccer at Santa Clara. It took a British film to tell the story of two standout women athletes on winning scholarships at an American university; Hollywood's all-Americans have always been men.
Teaching Notes
Portrayal of university athletics
Despite some rather conventional plot devices, this film is unique in its portrayal of two successful women athletes on their way to an NCAA scholarship at an American university. Amazingly, Hollywood has yet to produce a dramatic film about women athletic coaches or student athletes at American colleges. There are rare exceptions — but only if she looks good in a bathing suit — such as the execrable Bathing Beauty, which was a vehicle for US Olympic swimmer Esther Williams.
film poster
Film Still: The Victorious Hounslow Harriers