Bend It Like Beckham



Superb tale of a girl's struggle for her dreams.
Parents recommendPopular with kids
  • Review Date: September 28, 2003
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2003
  • Running Time: 112 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The main characters work hard and overcome obstacles to achieve their goals. The importance of supporting your child's dream -- even if it's different from yours -- is an important theme.

Positive role models

Strong female characters who are smart and athletic.

Not applicable

Kissing. References to premarital sex. Scenes show women in bras/with cleavage. Innuendo/verbal references to sex; implication that a couple is going at it in a car.


Infrequent swearing includes a few uses of "s--t," plus "boobs," "hell," "ass," "Jesus"/"God" (as exclamations), and some British slang ("shag," "wanker," "bollocks"). Some bleeping during the credits.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Social drinking and smoking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Bend It Like Beckham has strong themes of teamwork, friendship, and parents learning to support their children's interests/dreams. Expect some swearing (inlcuding a few uses of "s--t") and innuendo, as well as kissing and an implied sexual situation between a couple committed to marrying each other. Sexual orientation is discussed, and several of the under 21-year-old characters have a beer or a glass of wine, but they drink responsibly and are of legal age in the UK/Germany, where the scenes take place. Jess hides her soccer playing from her family and lies to protect her secret, but ultimately she's a driven, ambitious female character who follows her heart's desire.

What's the story?

Jess (Parminder K. Nagra) is the obedient daughter of her tradition-minded parents who have mapped her life's flight path from law degree to Indian husband to perfecting her ability to cook 'aloo gobi'. They have also allowed her to develop her natural soccer playing talents by turning a blind eye to her practices in the park with her best friend, Tony (Ameet Chana). When Jess' older sister, Pinky (Archie Panjabi), prepares to get married, their parents decide that it is time for Jess to settle down. Just as they are telling Jess to curb her sports pursuits, she is offered the opportunity to take her playing to the next level.

Is it any good?


Spunky and easy to watch, this feel-good movie bridges the distance between old country and new with the deft touch of a David Beckham penalty kick. For any girl whose athletic endeavors were ever questioned by conservative parents, BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM is a color-drenched fairy tale where you know from the opening credits that the story will end in the "happily ever after" category for our plucky heroine. Yes, this sunny little movie is about second generation Indian families in England striving to maintain traditions that kids, more British than Indian, find increasingly irrelevant. However, no matter what your cultural background, the central theme that you should follow your bliss no matter what the hurdle is universal.

While the story might not seem strikingly original, the color-drenched tones of the movie, the over-lit action scenes and the genuine appeal of the characters, especially Jess, make this film a welcome repast, engaging and entertaining from the first moment to the last. Even if the answers seem a bit pat, it is nice to think that complicated relationships and challenges can be resolved with the proper communications and the ability to make nice, round chappatis.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why Jess feels she can't talk to her family about her love of sports and how she defends her subterfuge.

  • How does her father's cricket experience impact his view of Jess' soccer playing?

  • What might be the common bond between Irish Joe and Indian Jess?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:March 12, 2003
DVD release date:September 30, 2003
Cast:Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Keira Knightley, Pariminder Nagra
Director:Gurinder Chadha
Studio:Fox Searchlight
Topics:Sports and martial arts
Run time:112 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:language and sexual content.

This review of Bend It Like Beckham was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 3, 5, and 11 year old Written byMcMac August 3, 2009

A great mother/daughter movie - opens the path to communication and discussions

As with many movies of this nature, my daughter and I watched it together. In doing this, we are able to discuss any situation or concept that appears which in-turn opens the lines of communication to what might be otherwise difficult for my daughter to ask. We both loved this movie and felt that the characters were great role models, not only in their emotions and lives, but in their desire to make their families happy, as well as themselves. We still watch it time and again and continue to discuss different ideas and concepts as my daughter grows older and has new questions. We still quote many lines from this movie, that would have otherwise been uncomfortable for my daughter; however, we were able to discuss them and now we joke about them!
What other families should know
Great role models
Kid, 10 years old April 9, 2008

This is a great movie for soccer players and everyone else!

This movie about a girl named Jess who loves soccer. The only problem is, her parents don't want her to! She sneaks out of the house in order to practice with her friend Jewel's team. Unfortunately, Jess's parents find out and Jess is banned from playing soccer! Then after watching Jess suffer, her dad finally lets her play in her big game on her sister's wedding day! She scores the winning goal and then gets an offer to play on the women's soccer team and go to college at Santa Clara. Jess gets really excited and goes to college there with her friend Jewels. To find out more about her adventures, go see this great movie!
Adult Written byCSM Screen Name... April 9, 2008

A wonderful, funny and profound movie for everyone.

Good story, feel good movie with subtle points. Should appeal to all ethnic groups. Clever and solid characters.


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