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HTF REVIEW: "Bend It Like Beckham" (with screenshots)

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#1 of 29 Adam_Reiter


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Posted September 12 2003 - 05:44 PM

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Bend It Like Beckham

Studio: 20th Century Fox

Year: 2003

Rated: PG-13

Directed by: Gurinder Chadha

Film Length: 112 Minutes

Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1

Audio: English and French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish Dolby Surround
Subtitled in English and Spanish

Bonus features:
-Director and Co-Writer Commentary
-10 Deleted/Extended Scenes
-"Who Wants To Cook Allo Gobi?" Hosted by the Director and "The Aunties"
-"The Making of Bend It Like Beckham" Featurette
-Music Video and Outtakes
-Aloo Gobi Recipe
-International Theatrical Trailers
Release Date: September 30th, 2003



"Bend It Like Beckham" is a nicely made independent film about a girl that struggles with her parent's family traditions that are trying to take away the one thing in life that she loves, playing soccer (futbol). She has a great talent for the sport, yet her family forbids her to play, because it interferes with their cultural beliefs. Jess is supposed to grow up, learn how to cook the full gambit of Indian food, marry a man, and that's it! Jess has to continually sneak around her parents for soccer practices and games, and seems to get caught every time she does! Throw in a love triangle between Jess, her best friend, and the teams coach, and you have one hectic mess of problems. Eventually, Jess stands up to her parents and fights for what she wants for her future.

I sort of have mixed feelings about this movie. I did like it for the most part, as it does have its silly and funny moments. Jules'(Keira Knightley) wacky mom is pretty funny throughout the movie. To start of with, the title of the movie put me off. I remember watching the trailers for the movie and just had very little interest for it. The title bugged me the most. I know that sounds silly to say that about the title of the movie, but I just downright hate it. I also have never gotten into "sporty" or "soccer" type movies. Midway through the flick, Jess' (Parminer Nagra) family begins to irritate the hell out of me. Being a "Colorado-Raised White Boy", I don't really have any family traditions or culture to speak of, so, the very different and conservative Sikh views of her family frustrate me. For instance, Jess isn't allowed to wear shorts or "bare" her legs. Also, Jess somehow messes up her sisters wedding all because the parents of her sister's boyfriend "thought", that they saw Jess kissing a boy out in public. It was actually just Jess and her teammate, Jules, laughing with each other at a bus stop. So, her sister's boyfriend's parents, call off the wedding because "children are a map of their parents". I know it's all about culture and traditions, but I just kept telling myself, "Gimme a friggin' break already!!" There are a few instances like this in the movie. I just ended up feeling extremely frustrated for Jess' character. I just wanted her to run away to America and leave her family in the dust, and be free and do whatever the hell she wants. The other problem I had with the movie was the sneaking away to play soccer, getting caught, sneaking away, getting caught, etc. It happens like 4 or 5 times and gets old really quick. It's like the punishment never gets worse for each occurrence. There are practically zero consequences for Jess to stop sneaking away. By the third time, you get to thinking, "What is the point? Who cares?" Other than that, it's a nice movie. There are a lot of funny scenes along the way, and Jess and Jules' friendship is very convincing, and it makes you want to root for their characters.

Here is the synopsis from the back cover:
Sometimes, to follow your dreams, you’ve got to bend the rules! Audiences and critics alike are cheering wildly for this "exhilarating and terrific comedy" (Entertainment Weekly) about a young girl who is torn between adhering to family traditions and attaining super-stardom on the soccer field. Hailed as the year's must-see crowd pleaser that "makes you feel good and laugh out loud" (Chicago Sun-Times), "'Bend It Like Beckham' scores!" (Time-Magazine)

There is also a little two page foldout insert where the Director, Grinder China, writes her thoughts on the movie. I decided to put that in here for you to read:

Gurinder Chadha, Director and Co-Writer

Bend It Like Beckham is my most autobiographical film. People think that must mean I wanted to be a professional football player (or "soccer" as you crazy Yanks insist on calling it!). The truth is I was never into soccer growing up - it's only now after making the film that I can bend a ball almost as well as I can cook Aloo Gobi. But like my protagonist less, I grew up in Southall, West London, in a Sikh Punjabi family and I always wanted more than was expected of an Indian girl. My Dad not only understood that, he encouraged it. When I was a stroppy teenager and refused to dress up like a Christmas tree in an Indian outfit for a family wedding, my Mum wrung her hands in despair but Dad laughed and let me wear my favorite sky blue three-piece polyester flared suit. When I wanted to leave home for university and study Third World Development and Economics, he agreed.

Fast Forward to the World Cup in 1998. My Japanese-American husband Paul and I go to our local pub in Camden and scream and cheer for the England team along with men, women, kids, black, white, Asian - the entire country has gone mad.

Our star player David Beckham stands out because he's turned the idea of the traditional macho soccer player on its head. Little boys want to play like him, women (and lots of men!) want to snatch him away from his wife Posh Spice and take him home to their families, everyone agrees he’s an amazing player and he looks gorgeous in a sarong. It hits me that I want to take this world and stick a young Indian girl right in the center of it because it's the last thing anyone would expect of her (or me).

I decide then to make a film combining the English passion for football with the Indian passion for marriage. Beckham scores a magnificent goal and rips his shirt off (my oh my...). When I get my breath back it dawns on me that Beckham's uncanny ability to "bend" the ball around a wall of players into the goal is a great metaphor for what young girls (and film directors) go through. You see your goal, you know where you want to go, but you've got to twist and turn and bend the rules to get there. Financing films is always about arm-twisting. Writing the script was easy, the characters flowed out of me faster than any script I've ever written, but setting up the film was as stressful as an England v. Germany final. Everyone said soccer films don't work, let alone girls' soccer, let alone an Indian girl playing soccer.. ARE YOU NUTS?!!!

Three years later after lots of arm-twisting and bollocks-busting, I'm at Shepperton Studios on a set we’ve modeled on my Aunty’s house directing my Mum and all of my Aunties in a big wedding scene. My Mum completely disregards the hierarchy of a film set and starts directing me, "INDI! (my nickname) tell the cameraman to face the camera this way, Guddi Aunty is not even in the shot..." Parminder Nagra, who has trained for ten weeks with a Brazilian soccer coach to play less, enters the set. My Mum and A unties immediately ask her if she's married and begin trying to find her a suitable boy. Jonathan Rhys Meyers enters and I introduce my family. They all beam at him and ask what role he's playing. I explain that he's the football coach who less falls in love with. They all gasp in shock horror.

At the films premiere in England I look up at a huge billboard in Leicester Square featuring my Mum standing in the middle of a wall of A unties. Indian drummers work up the crowd dressed in Armani and Salwar Kameez to a frenzy and the Indianization of Leicester Square is complete. The film opens on 450 screens (my first film Bhaji on the Beach opened on 5!) and goes on to be the most successful British-financed, British-distributed film in the United Kingdom of all time. The Empire Strikes Back!

I travel from continent to continent watching the 2002 World Cup as the film opens in different countries. In each country there are people from different communities wildly cheering on their teams. The world of soccer, like the world of cinema, is truly international. My father passed away recently and every time I see his dedication at the end of the film I think about how happy he'd be that audiences in Korea and South Africa and New Zealand and Hong Kong are getting a kick out of a family very much like our own, with a father at the helm inspired by my Dad who encouraged me to bend all the rules and go for it.



Picture quality for this DVD was pretty good. The animorphic transfer looked nice. Colors were vibrant and saturated. There are a lot of bold colors in this film. Black levels were fairly good. I thought the skin tones looked very good as well.

I did notice some grain in the background of certain scenes. I noticed it more with the darker backgrounds, than with lighter ones. For instance, grass. Grain shows up a lot in scenes with grass and in dark blue backgrounds. I also noticed some digital noise reduction on the skin in close-ups. Surprisingly, this is one of the first DVD's that I noticed very little grain in the sky and overcast scenes.

I didn't really see any pixilation or compression artifacts, but I did see that there was some film dirt in a few scenes. I did hear that another reviewer noticed some EE haloing. I didn't see it, but I'm not very good at looking for it. I'd say besides the grain, it's a pretty good transfer.

SEE FOR YOURSELF!: (click on the picture for a bigger version of the screen-shot)

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More screen shots here

Picture Quality Rating:
Picture: 4 / 5
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The DVD is mixed in Dolby Digital 5.1. The mix allowed for a very clear dialog. Dialog stayed put with the center speaker. Music separation was very good to the left and right channels. When the music kicks in, it REALLY kicks in. There is not much LFE in the film, except with a few of the songs. The bass comes in very strong and was a nice surprise. The one scene that comes to mind with great LFE was the one where they all go out to a club. I quickly had to turn down the volume because the house started "rocking" out of nowhere, and the kids were already in bed a while. Surrounds were used very sparingly, except for occasional ambience or for soundstage envelopment with certain songs. Sound was very nice overall. A good sound mix for the type of film.

Sound Quality Rating:
Sound: 4 / 5
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This DVD has a moderate amount of extras on this DVD, let’s take a look. [/b]


There is a commentary by Director Guinder Chadha and Co-Writer Paul Mayeda Berges. Wrote in 1998, at a time where David Beckham just disgraced himself in the World Cup and everyone hated him, this is why Guinder got permission from Beckham to use his name in the film. Fast forward few years when the movie is released and now David Beckham is the hero of the soccer world. I’d say a very lucky break for the film makers! The directors talk about the characters in the movie and the shoot locations that are very familiar to the director as she grew up as a child. There is a lot of information about Indian traditions and culture and how it ties in with the film The 2 girls trained for 10 weeks with the soccer coaches. The rest of the soccer team was made up of different women’s soccer team players. Watch the commentary to hear all sorts of great bits about the movie.

”Who Wants To Cook Aloo Gobi?” Featurette

Guinder Chadha and her “Aunties” take us through a 15 minute rundown of how to cook “Aloo Gobi”. This is a pretty cool and very different featurette. What other movie DVD have you seen that shows you how to cook? Guinder’s Mom and Aunt sure do give her a rousing though. Obviously the skilled “veterans” took exception to her cooking style and her use of “shortcuts” when preparing the mean. It’s kind of funny to listen to them badger her. I actually like Indian food, so I might try this recipe some day.

Total Running Time: 14:58 / Aspect Ratio: 16:9

Behind The Scenes Featurette: The Making Of Bend It Like Beckham

Just as the title describes, it’s the behind the scenes goings on of “Bend It Like Beckham”. “This film is a film about dreams”, says the Director Guinder Chadha. He elaborates a bit about what the film is based on. We also find the movie is filmed in her old neighborhood where she grew up. We hear from Parminder Nagra (Jess), Kiera Knightly (Jules), Anupam Kher (Mr. Bhamra aka Jess’ Dad), Jonathan Rhys-Meyers (Joe), Shaznay Lewis (Mel), Trey Farley (Taz), Juliet Stevenson (Paula aka Jules’ mom), they all go into information about their individual characters, and tidbits here and there about the movie. Soccer Coach Simon Clifford, talks about the trials and tribulations about coaching the girls in soccer. They learned how to handle the ball and “bend” the ball like soccer star David Beckham. It’s a technique of spinning the ball when it’s kicked so that it “arcs” around the defenders. A lot of the soccer filming was the girls just free playing the game, and wasn’t choreographed. We also see the behind the scenes of the films premier night.

Total Running Time: 15:16 / Aspect Ratio: 16:9

Deleted Scenes

”I’m not interested, Mum”

”I can’t believe we’re related”

”I’ve been slaving all day”

I’m not interested, Mum”

”Marriage stakes”
”I’m still in love with Pinky”

”Why doesn’t that spicy girl do something about his hair?”

”Tomato red”

”It’s a great day today”

Fight for the camera

Wedding festivities

Music Video

This is a music video of an Indian version of “Hot Hot Hot”. The cast and crew lip-sync to the song. At the end of the video, we see the real David Beckham and his wife taping their part for the video. David Beckham looks like a complete retard and he has not a single charismatic cell is his body. His lips don’t even move, and he stands their like a robot. It’s utterly pathetic and embarrassing! He might be some great jock, but he is agonizingly lame! Fans of David Beckham, please don’t shoot me! Posted Image

Total Running Time: 6:12 / Aspect Ratio: 4:3 Letterboxed

International Trailer #1

Total Running Time: 1:55 / Aspect Ratio: 4:3 Letterboxed

International Trailer #2

Total Running Time: 1:19 / Aspect Ratio: 4:3 Letterboxed

Aloo Gobi Recipe

4 pages of text for the recipe

Antwone Fisher Trailer

Total Running Time: 2:35 / Aspect Ratio: 4:3 Letterboxed

Bend It Like Beckham Music Promo Spot

Total Running Time: 31 seconds / Aspect Ratio: 4:3 Letterboxed

Extras / Bonus Features Rating:
Extras: 4 / 5
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More menu shots here!


"Bend It Like Beckham" is a nice DVD offering.

I can surely RECOMMEND buying this DVD if you are a fan of the movie. For everyone else, when in doubt, rent first! Posted Image

This has been,
[/b] Posted Image

#2 of 29 MartinTeller



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Posted September 12 2003 - 05:48 PM

Adam... could you please not stack the screenshots side-by-side? Or else make them smaller? It stretches out your post so wide that I would have to keep horizontal sliding back and forth to read your review. Not everyone's got a giant monitor, y'know Posted Image

#3 of 29 Adam_Reiter


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Posted September 12 2003 - 05:56 PM

Hmmm, I did that because I figured Ron might yell at me for making the review too long "length" wise. So I actually put a period between the two pics so that it anchors them side by side. However, I don't do that with the page with the additional pics. How does that page look for you? The pages with the additional screen shots scales depending on your browser width.

Let me get a few more feedbacks from people. Majority rules, I can definately stack the screenshots only one shot wide, instead of two, if that is what everyone wants.

Thanx for the comment, this is the kind of feedback I need.

#4 of 29 Adam_Reiter


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Posted September 12 2003 - 05:59 PM

Actually, I now see what you are saying. Anchoring the screenshots to two wide, doesnt allow the text to scale like it used to. I will change this.

Thanx. I probably should change my X2 and Family guy reviews as well.

#5 of 29 Ronald Epstein

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Posted September 12 2003 - 08:26 PM

I figured Ron might yell at me

When have I ever yelled at you?

Nice review.

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#6 of 29 Parker Clack

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Posted September 12 2003 - 09:49 PM


I prefer this layout too.


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are confidential and can only be released to other insurance companies,

pharmaceutical​ reps, suppliers of medical equipment and for some

reason the RNC."

#7 of 29 Andy_Bu


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Posted September 13 2003 - 12:17 AM

Thank you very much for the detailed review.

My wife and I are interested in seeing this movie as we both enjoy cultural type movies. Many have compared this to My Big Fat Greek Wedding which we chuckled through so we figure we may enjoy this one as well.

Thank you again for taking the time to prepare a very thorough review.

This is going to be the first of a small chain of soccer movies coming out over the next few years.

The guys who made Rudy and Hoosiers are stepping back in time again and making a movie about the 1950 US National Team that shocked England in the World Cup.

Also, Quentin Tarantino is producing a soccer trilogy about a young LA hispanic player.



#8 of 29 Adam_Reiter


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Posted September 13 2003 - 02:02 AM

When have I ever yelled at you?

Hehehe! I didn't mean it literally. Posted Image

#9 of 29 Jeff Whitford

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Posted September 13 2003 - 07:01 AM

I can't wait for this movie! I also love the title.
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#10 of 29 Rob Cooper

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Posted September 13 2003 - 04:16 PM

That "agonizingly lame" guy in the music video is not David Beckham. It's just some impersonator.

#11 of 29 Colin Jacobson

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Posted September 13 2003 - 04:27 PM

That "agonizingly lame" guy in the music video is not David Beckham. It's just some impersonator.

Actually, I'm pretty sure that's really Beckham along with Victoria...
Colin Jacobson

#12 of 29 Robert Crawford

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Posted September 13 2003 - 08:32 PM

Yes, that was Beckham in the video.



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#13 of 29 Rob Cooper

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Posted September 13 2003 - 08:53 PM

I believe the man in the video is Andy Harmer. He is credited on the IMDB as playing David Beckham.

The guy in the music video doesn't even look that much like the real David Beckham or sound like him. I haven't seen the R1 dvd but on the R4 dvd there are some outtakes from the music video in which the impersonater says something about "the real David".

#14 of 29 Chris_Morris



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Posted September 14 2003 - 01:04 AM

And there is an actress listed as playing Victoria, so that may not be her in the video. Also, the IMDB has a bit of trivia that makes me truly appreciate directors who stand up for their films:

Although football (soccer) star David Beckham and the term "bend" are well-known in the U.K., they are virtually unknown in the U.S. As such, when the time came for the film's U.S release, 20th Century Fox marketing execs suggested changing the title to "Move it like Mia", alluding to U.S. football star Mia Hamm. Director Gurinder Chadha objected to the name change and the film was released with its original title.

"Move It Like Mia"? Posted Image


#15 of 29 Dave_P.


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Posted September 14 2003 - 01:13 AM

Posted Image Posted Image Excellent movie!

#16 of 29 Adam_Reiter


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Posted September 14 2003 - 02:42 AM

That "agonizingly lame" guy in the music video is not David Beckham. It's just some impersonator.

Rob, I assure you, the video extra on the DVD does show the REAL-LIFE David Beckham. After the video is done, there is 5 minutes afterwards that is them trying to get David Beckham and his wife to sing their lines for the video. They take many many takes, cause he just stands there and doesn't have a clue what to do. He barely moves his mouth.

The impersonater wouldn't have a job, if that is how bad he acted.

#17 of 29 Adam_Reiter


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Posted September 14 2003 - 02:45 AM

And there is an actress listed as playing Victoria, so that may not be her in the video.

The parts you guys are talking about actors that are playing David and his wife, is most likley the scene at the end where David Beckham getting off a plane at the airport. I am sure that is the actors. However, it is the real people in the video outtakes.

#18 of 29 Bob McElfresh

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Posted September 14 2003 - 03:40 AM

One of the suprising parts of this movie is that it treats the parents and their traditional views with a lot of love and respect. These are not uncaring, dominate people. They love their daughters and the Sihk community is a warm, colorful mix with many of the youngsters (not just Jess) all trying to fit into two different worlds.

(At a traditional engagement party a cell-phone starts to ring and about a dozen elderly 'aunties' pull phones out of various folds in their sarong's.)

This movie seems to touch most people, but if you are raising daughters it hits you on a deeper level and tells you that you are not alone in your hopes and fears. Highly recommended.

#19 of 29 Steve K.H.

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Posted September 14 2003 - 04:30 AM

I have not heard one person say they didn't like this film, and everyone basically was surprised how good it was. Everywhere else but N.A. this was predictable...

...good to see they packed the goods into the transfer.

(reminds me, I've gotta dig around and see if I can find Victory anywhere... some cool soccer clips in that film)

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#20 of 29 JoelO


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Posted September 26 2003 - 11:49 AM

I like this film a lot. I got the R3 a few months ago that came w/ the OST. Really love the Soundtrack too.

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