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Bend It Like Beckham (2002)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

In Hounslow, west London. 18 year old Jess Bhamra dreams of playing professional football like her idol David Beckham, but her Punjabi Sikh parents have more conventional plans for her: a law degree and marriage. Jules, a white female striker, spots Jess playing park football and invites her to join the local women's team. Jules hopes to play for the US Women's League, but is discouraged by her mother who worries about her apparent lack of interest in boys, unaware that Jules has a crush on the team's coach Joe. Joe recognises the potential of both women, but becomes aware of the obstacles Jess faces due to her parents' attitude.

Joe is forced to help with the preparations for the wedding of her older sister Pinky, and is then banned from playing football for shaming the family by exposing her legs in shorts. Pinky's future in-laws assume that Jules is Jess' 'boyfriend' and break off the engagement. Jess resorts to playing in secret. At an away match in Germany, the growing attraction between Jess and Joe causes Jules to break off her friendship with Jess. At the league semi-final, Jess is sent off for retaliating against racial abuse. She returns home to find that Pinky's wedding is now going ahead - on the date of the final, where a US team scout will be present. Despite pleas from Joe and a conciliatory Jules, Jess is resigned to never playing again.

At the wedding party, Mr Bhamra realises Jess' misery and tells her to slip away to play in the second half of the final, where she scores a goal. Jess and Jules are both awarded scholarships to the US; and Jess' romance with Joe looks set to continue.

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