Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 36
  2. Negative: 1 out of 36
  1. The most exhilarating movie so far this year. It's made up of many familiar elements -- think ''Monsoon Wedding'' meets ''My Beautiful Laundrette'' meets ''Personal Best'' -- yet before long, you catch on to how buoyant and funny and original it is.
  2. Terrifically fun entertainment; wonderfully shot and acted, instilled with spirit and life and able to woo us with its exhuberant freshness.
  3. 88
    I saw more important films at Sundance 2003, but none more purely enjoyable than Bend It Like Beckham, which is just about perfect as a teenage coming-of-age comedy.
  4. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    The juxtaposition between the fast-paced plays on the soccer field and the color-drenched, music-infused wedding party is a highlight of this captivating film.
  5. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    Terrifically charming and energetic film.
  6. A joyful celebration of spirit and endurance.
  7. Bright, lively and liberating movie.
  8. Smart, lively and altogether warmhearted dramatic comedy.
  9. I'm still smiling as I recall Jess, the soccer star-to-be, standing behind her straitlaced mother in the kitchen and casually bouncing a head of lettuce on her knee.
  10. There's a great sense of fun in the cultural collision between Indian and British lifestyles -- often within the same person.
  11. 80
    You seldom leave a theater walking on air, much less float all through a movie. But the joyous Bend It Like Beckham never lets you down.
  12. 75
    Writer-director Gurinder Chadha juggles all the angles with flair and fairness. Like Nagra and Knightley, the movie is a sweetheart.
  13. 75
    As the movie breathlessly cuts back and forth from a boisterous wedding celebration to a high-stakes soccer match, even the grumpy cynics will have been won over.
  14. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    The film's most natural appeal is to adolescent athletes -- in particular, cleat-wearing young ladies who will bask in its hard-won girl-power message. This is a movie with bruised shins and a huge heart.
  15. 75
    Enjoyable enough that the sprinkles of artificial sweetness in the mix don't do lasting or irreparable damage.
  16. Energetic, eager-to-please culture-clash comedy.
  17. The feel-good movie of a feel-blah movie year, with all the positive qualities and one negative trait that this description implies.
  18. 70
    The portrait of traditional Indian life Chadha provides manages to mine laughs from characters without resorting to making them laughable.
  19. Every generation has to discover the same clichés that were drummed into previous generations, and kids could do worse than to learn them from this film.
  20. 70
    Enjoyably shameless confection.
  21. 70
    Like the rest of the film, Beckham's climax is surprisingly satisfying, however, in large part because director Gurinder Chadha films the competing big game and big fat Indian wedding of Nagra's sister with equivalently bursting levels of color, panache, and verve.
  22. 70
    Fine character work by Juliet Stevenson, Archie Panjabi, and Bollywood regular Anupam Kher make this well worth seeing.
  23. 63
    Much of the value -- entertainment and otherwise -- of seeing a culture-specific movie is to connect with a larger world than your everyday life offers.
  24. 63
    An energetic, feel-good blend of comedy, romance and benign drama -- with a side dish of social commentary -- that works despite its strict adherence to the culture clash/generation gap formula.
  25. 60
    Lightweight, thoroughly charming fluff.
  26. Reviewed by: Darrin Keene
    While this film offers plenty of laughs and a cool soundtrack, it also tiptoes around complex subjects of social change and inter-racial relations.
  27. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    The movie isn't unwatchable. It's clumsily good-natured, the actors are appealing, and there are worse ways to spend two hours than looking at pretty young girls in shorts kicking balls. But the movie is way, way too pleased with itself.
  28. Reviewed by: Derek Elley
    Writer-helmer Gurinder Chadha assembles a gallery of broadly played stereotypes into a movie about social attitudes that's more rooted in small-screen sitcom than anything deeper.
  29. Just a few years ago, the generally felt aspiration of ethnic groups was to blend in with the majority culture. Today it's to flourish in modern society while actively remembering old-country values...Bend It Like Beckham could cement the trend.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 107 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 46 out of 59
  2. Negative: 11 out of 59
  1. Jul 28, 2013
    Light-hearted comedy! As an Indian I can completely relate to this movie. Well directed and not-so-bad acting. Not the most innovative movie but thoroughly enjoyable. Absolutely loved it! Full Review »
  2. [Anonymous]
    Mar 10, 2009
    Great movie with plenty of humor. And I'm Indian, so I know how dead on the movie is about revealing Indian culture in the Western World. But my parents don't mind when I date white girls. Other than that, it's really accurate. Full Review »
  3. PatriciaC.
    Sep 10, 2007
    What a brilliant film i love jonathan rhys meyers he is so hot and it just shows that women can play football hope there is going to be a second film. Full Review »