Bend it toward God

The new Association Football (called soccer in the United States) season is in full stride in Europe, and this year the whole world knows about it. Headlines trumpeting David Beckham's transfer from Manchester United in England to Real Madrid in Spain took care of that. And a movie, launched in the US in March, about a women's soccer team in Hounslow, near London, did the rest.

The film happens to be titled Bend it Like Beckham—the same Beckham of those news headlines. And even though his role in the movie is to be little more than a "poster-guy" for a football-crazy Anglo-Indian teenager named Jesminder, his spirit and skills illuminate this well-observed, amusing, heart-warming, family story.

Jess's ambition is to gain such control of the soccer ball that she can "bend" it like Beckham, through the air and into the goal, so that she can win games for her Hounslow Harriers and become a football professional. Forget the "full Punjabi dinners" her mother insists all proper Indian girls must learn to cook. Football is what makes life worth living for Jess, her teammates, and the male coach with whom she falls in love.

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You can be sure
September 8, 2003

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