'Bend It Like Beckham' Plays at the Sunrise
The title of "Bend It Like Beckham," the dramatic British sports comedy that returns to the Sunrise Theater in Southern Pines, Friday, Aug. 15, no longer requires explanation for film-goers in the United States. David Beckham, England's premier soccer professional when the film was released here several years ago, is now the most popular soccer professional playing Major League Soccer in the U.S.
"Bend It Like Beckham" is a warm film about a dream that crosses over to wide audiences. Before its release here, it won audience awards at film festivals from Locarno to Toronto.
It was Britain's top-grossing British-financed and distributed film ever.
Jess (Parminder Nagra), who lives only for soccer, is the younger daughter of a family of middle-class Sikh Punjabi immigrants residing in a London suburb. The film opens with a fantasy that shows young Jess living out her dream by joining Beckham on the national. She frequently speaks about her life to a large photo of Beckham that is part of the soccer memorabilia filling her bedroom.
Jess cannot resist the pickup games with boys in the nearby park, and whenever her foot touches the ball, magic happens. Unfortunately, Jess' soccer mania conflicts with her parents' traditional attitudes. They think their daughter's ambitions should lie with marriage and the university.
An equally soccer-mad young woman, Juliet 'Jules' Paxton (Keira Knightley) recognizes Jess' abilities in the park games and gets her onto a local women's team coached by the young and handsome Joe (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers). Jules also tells her new friend about soccer in the U.S., where women actually compete in their own professional league.
Without asking her family's permission, Jess begins playing for the team. She even plays in Beckham's position, "up front on the right."
But inevitably, the family discovers Jess' secret.
The clash between immigrant parents and assimilated children culminates when Jess' sister, Pinky, schedules her wedding at the same time as an important soccer tournament in Hamburg. Jess has to make a painful choice. Numerous strategies, crises and misunderstandings follow, as Jess and Jules plan to overcome the idea that "Indian girls aren't supposed to play football."
"Bend It Like Beckham" effectively portrays respect for both cultural pride and multiculturalism, the cultural collision between Indian and British lifestyles, old values and modern self-realization, sexual tolerance, and the right of women to play sports.
The film plays Friday, Aug. 15, through Monday, Aug. 18, at 7:30 p.m. Matinees are on Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
The film runs 112 minutes and is rated PG-13 for language and some sexual situations.
The Sunrise Theater is located at 250 Broad St. In Southern Pines.
Ticket prices are $7 for adults, $6 for matinees, and $5 for children under 12. Concessions are available.
For more information, call (910) 692-3611 or visit www.sunrisetheater.com.
More like this story