Bend It Like Beckham: Movie Analysis

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Bend it Like Beckham: Movie Analysis

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The movie Bend it Like Beckham is about an second generation Indian girl living in England. Throughout the whole entire movie, she fights against her parent’s wills and wishes as she pursues playing the game that she loves, soccer. Jess, the girl who plays soccer against her family’s will, sneaks around to continue to go to the practices, and throughout the movie she gets caught multiple times. Jess’ parents, due to them being first generation immigrants in England, have a hard time assimilating to the new culture here, which is why they are so hard on Jess throughout the movie. However, Jess continues to play the sport that she loves, and by the end of the movie, her family accepts the fact that they can’t stop her from playing soccer. At the end of the movie, due to the pull factors of a full scholarship to go to an American college to play soccer, Jess moves to America and finally lives her dream. Many elements throughout the movie connect to sections of human geography; mainly the cultural geography unit.

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The biggest connection that was throughout the whole entire movie was based around the idea of acculturation. Jess’ parents wanted her to stick to her roots, but throughout the movie, Jess mixes in elements of English culture into her life, causing her to stray from her background. An example of this is when her mother wants her to learn Indian cooking, but all that Jess can think about it soccer. This also shows an form of ethnocentrism, because the parents believe in the superiority of their culture, and don’t want their daughter to fall into the English culture. Midway through the movie, Jess goes out with her friend to the central business district of London, a world city, to buy what her parents think are dress shoes for her sister’s wedding, however, she buys soccer cleats, and her parents end up finding out. Again, her parents get angry with her because she is going against the grains of the cultural norm, but Jess has to play soccer. The elements of soccer throughout the movie show a very clear example of popular culture because of its hold on the country of England; everyone knows about it, and it is a widely popular sport not only in England, but in many other countries also. Another example of cultural geography in the movie was when Jess’ parents were talking about Jess’ sister’s fiance and how clean shaven he was, and how he didn’t have a full beard and turban like a proper Indian man. This shows an example of cultural adaptation, because of how second and third generation Indians have been changing how they look due to the new norms in the country that their families have migrated too.

Throughout the movie, many relatives of Jess are present due to Jess’ sister’s wedding. This shows an example of intercontinental migration from India to England, and because the presence of large families was very clearly seen in the movie, it also shows an example of chain migration. At one point during the engagement ceremony, a cell phone rings, and everybody, mainly older people, pull out cell phones to check if it is theirs. Although this isn’t a central plot point to the movie, it does show an example of contagious diffusion; due to the globalized world that everybody lives in today, it is rare that someone doesn’t have a cell phone.

Although Bend it Like Beckham wasn’t a perfect movie to connect to Human Geography, there were definite connections due to the movie being about the mixing of two cultures. Bend it Like Beckham not only connected to the cultural unit, but also the migration and urban development unit, helping to make connections between all three.

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