Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 36
  2. Negative: 1 out of 36
  1. 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.
  2. 75
    Enjoyable enough that the sprinkles of artificial sweetness in the mix don't do lasting or irreparable damage.
  3. 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.
  4. 75
    Writer-director Gurinder Chadha juggles all the angles with flair and fairness. Like Nagra and Knightley, the movie is a sweetheart.
  5. 60
    Lightweight, thoroughly charming fluff.
  6. Routine, genial sports movie.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Smart, lively and altogether warmhearted dramatic comedy.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 50
    There's nothing terribly bad about Bend It Like Beckham -- in fact it's a fine Friday-night-out film -- it's just that it strikes me as being an awful little piffle cloaked in the garb of something so much more.
  14. There's a great sense of fun in the cultural collision between Indian and British lifestyles -- often within the same person.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 70
    Fine character work by Juliet Stevenson, Archie Panjabi, and Bollywood regular Anupam Kher make this well worth seeing.
  18. 50
    Bend It Like Beckham is supposedly a movie about youth; its biggest shortcoming is that it rarely feels young.
  19. The feel-good movie of a feel-blah movie year, with all the positive qualities and one negative trait that this description implies.
  20. Energetic, eager-to-please culture-clash comedy.
  21. Its cheery inoffensiveness, though, is in some ways disappointing.
  22. 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.
  23. Director and co-writer Gurinder Chadha continues in the vein of her previous movies, "What's Cooking?" and "Bhaji on the Beach," exploring with humor and compassion how cultures adapt in foreign climes.
  24. 70
    Enjoyably shameless confection.
  25. A joyful celebration of spirit and endurance.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. Bright, lively and liberating movie.
  29. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    Terrifically charming and energetic film.
  30. 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.
  31. Terrifically fun entertainment; wonderfully shot and acted, instilled with spirit and life and able to woo us with its exhuberant freshness.
  32. 20
    Only silent Becks himself rises unstained from this reheated ethno-niche stew.
  33. 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.
  34. 70
    The portrait of traditional Indian life Chadha provides manages to mine laughs from characters without resorting to making them laughable.
  35. 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.
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 »