Journal: News & Comment

Sunday, April 27, 2003
# 3:24:00 PM:


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A little over a week ago my wife and I saw Bend It Like Beckham. It was an oddly familiar movie.

The basic plot—British girl from a traditional Sikh family rebels against her parents and her engaged sister by chasing her dream to play professional soccer (sorry, football)—is nothing remarkable: sort of My Sister's Big Fat Sikh Wedding. However, the film is so well written and made, funny, and genuine that it transcends its fish-out-of-water Cinderella concept.

The familiarity is odd because I'm a Canadian boy from a not-especially-traditional German-Finnish family. But the Vancouver area has one of the biggest Sikh populations outside India. The movie's setting in a Heathrow-area London suburb could just as easily have been in Richmond or South Vancouver, with the same jumbo jets passing overhead. For me, the Indian dress, food, wedding customs, and mores seemed close to home. The weird foreign bits were the British slang and bizarre English food (Beans on toast? Bleah!).

It says something that our family, despite our European roots (my wife's ancestors lived in Scotland and Poland), takes as our comfort food butter chicken and naan (as well as sushi), while roast beef and Yorkshire pudding are rare meals, and exotic too.

Go see the movie. It's terrific fun.


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