Bend It Like Beckham

Rated 4.0 An English girl of Indian descent (Parminder Nagra) indulges her passion and talent for soccer on the sly, afraid to incur the disapproval of her tradition-bound parents (Anupam Kher, Shaheen Khan). The story itself is no great shakes—a sort of gender and culture switch on Billy Elliot, with sports standing in for dancing. But, as they say, God is in the details, and in this case, the details are in the hands of director Gurinder Chadha and her co-writers Paul Mayeda Berges and Guljit Bindra. They make the film a sly and affectionate portrayal of two clashing cultures—well, not clashing exactly, but certainly jostling elbows a little. Chadha brings the same sweet compassion to the direction that she did in her earlier ethnic stew Bhaji on the Beach, with sympathetic performances all around.