Parminder Nagra plays Jesminder (Jess for short), the younger daughter of an Indian family living near London. Unlike her sister and many of her friends, her dreams deal not with gaining a husband and having children but playing professional soccer. As if to underscore the philosophical divide, the portrait of a Sikh religious figure dominates the living room of the family home while a poster of her idol David Beckham is the most prominent feature of her room, with both images being on the receiving end of various prayers and confidences. Not surprisingly, Jess' traditionally-minded family does not view her obsession with football as a positive goal (no pun intended).
When she is recruited by Jules (Keira Knightley) to play on a girl's tournament team, Jess tries to balance lessons in traditional Indian cooking with her mother with surreptitious training and games. Jules has her concerns with the possibility of impressing an American scout, and a mother that frets over the possibility of her daughter's passion for athletics turning her into a lesbian. Toss a mutual affection that both girls have for their Irish soccer coach and you have a wealth of opportunities for confrontation, misinterpretation and cultural conflict.
The beauty of the film is that it handles this collection of familial, generational and cultural disconnects with a loving warmth and humor that alienates no one. Differing views and goals aside, the respect and affection between all of the characters is never in doubt, and it makes for a most entertaining story. It's a keeper!
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