I saw Bend It Like Beckham
on video tonight. It's a good movie, even for people who don't like soccer -- or football, as this movie takes place in England. Parminder Nagra stars as Jesminder "Jess" Bhamra, an Indian teen who dreams of playing football like her idol, David Beckham. She gets recruited by Jules, played by Keira Knightley, to join her on an amateur women's team. Jess practices and wins in secret, however, because her parents don't approve. I like that Jess's parents aren't one-dimensional authoritarian figures: They're traditional but also loving. A funny parallel is that Jules's mother is also concerned about her daughter's involvement, worrying that she won't find a nice boyfriend or that she may be a lesbian. Until now I'd never seen such an compelling, humorous look at British Indian life; whether or not it's an accurate portrayal, this movie takes a fairly simple story and elevates it with characters anyone can relate to and a joyful message about achieving goals.