The British Empire may not have had the cleanest record when one considers its history of racial oppression and mistreatment of its colonial subjects, but films like Gurinder Chadha's Bend it Like Beckham suggest that there might just be a bright, new, heterogeneous future in store for the original Isle of WASP that comes with its own set of cultural obstacles. Luckily these problems make for some great cinema as Beckham is as enlightening to the English/Indian culture clash as it is funny. Already enjoying massive popularity in its native England, Beckham tells the story of Jesminder (Parminder K. Nagra), a first generation Brit torn between her soccer coach, Joe (Jonathan Rhys-Myers) who recognizes her potential to play professional soccer, and her traditional Indian parents (Anupam Kher, Shaheen Khan) who envision a tamer, domestic future for their daughter.

Beckham reveals both the uniting power of sport and the obstacles of a slowly integrating Britain. Chadha might be said to sell out her own people in parts of the film by portraying the British culture as the voice of reason in contrast with the strict Indian one, but perhaps this is her own rebellion. She realizes that some sort of compromise is necessary for harmony to exist down the road. Jess embodies this compromise as her ability to make her own decisions, rather than a petty declaration of English superiority, wins the day.


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