‘Bend it Like Beckham’ is one of the films that can be regarded as successful movies. The movie is directed by Gurinder Chadha. The theme of happiness is evident in the film presenting some forms of happiness as superior to others. The film demonstrates a happy reflection of multiculturalism in Britain. Such instances are seen as football ends up being a way reflecting on the issue of multiculturalism. Moreover, the film is as delightful and entertaining as advertised. Happiness seems to have different definitions and predispositions. According to Ahmed (2007), happiness works as a defense against an anticipated loss in the future and at the same time a displacement of a social wish. The film presents different ways through which happiness is realized in the lives of human beings. However, there are ways and reasons presented in the film as certain forms of happiness are privileged over others. Thus, this essay supports the idea that happiness not a social good that can be attained through the wish of other people and the society at large.

In the film, multiculturalism is given a positive significance through the arrangement of a narrative of personal happiness having the social good. Looking at the general idea about happiness, it can be said that it is a feeling that can be pursued. It can be used to describe the inner feeling status of a person. While happiness as described through models of psychology makes reference to having an inner state that is felt within a person, a lot of literature does not agree to this predisposition (Seligman, 2004). ‘Bend it Like Beckham’ is just one of them. Happiness is a great subject of debate that has been experienced amongst scholars and works of literature. It is more than just feeling good. Some people would think that good things bring happiness while others believe that it is the happiness that should bring the good things.

In the film, a father is making a solemn promise to his daughter by saying that he wants her to be happy. The father tries to resolve a conflict of one of the obstacles in the film. There is a happy ending that is being pursued amidst an obstacle. Jess is a good footballer. She believes that happiness will come if she attains a desired end. She is in pursuit of her happiness and she is convinced that she will only achieve it if she can bend the ball like Beckham. This requires her to go against what is required of an Indian girl. There is definitely a general conflict that exists between the daughter and the parents. The conflict is occasioned by the cultural differences (Bend it Like Beckham). According to Jess, the only person who can bend the ball like Beckham is definitely going achieve happiness. It is clear that keeping some social and cultural practices will prevent any conflict between her and the parents. However, this does not amount to the happiness she is pursuing. It can only be attained if she goes against her societal and cultural provisions.

While it is a shame to the community for Jess’s desire to bend the ball like Beckham, it is the same shame that will amount to her happiness. For Jess, multiculturalism is an object of happiness.  Ideally, happiness is realized in the family when everything is properly aligned. The pursuit and the fulfillment of a person’s desires can bring out happiness. At some point, Jess hugs Jules at the bus station. Friends to her parents get the wrong idea and Jess is accused of kissing Jules, an English boy. The parents regard this as shame to the family. They think that Jess will be happy by conforming to the Indian culture but that is really not the case.  Happiness cannot be forced on somebody. Apparently, forcing Jess to commit herself to cultural values denies her happiness. Her parents believe that Jess will be happy if she conforms to the standard that has been set by Indian culture. The parents seem to be happy and very comfortable with the values of their culture. They are pessimistic about getting happiness from the multicultural context. This shows the different obstacles that the different people must overcome to remain happy. The parents believe that they will be happy by not going against the cultural values. However, Jess believes that her happiness is not within the circles of her cultural origin but if she can only bend the ball like Beckham (Bend it Like Beckham).

Indeed the film gives an upper hand to happiness that is defined by more than just being at par with the society. Being happy will not come by having good feelings alone. Happiness is that point where an individual fulfils a desired end. It is a state that brings on good tidings to the life of an individual. Happiness is characterized with satisfaction and joy. It involves having cognition and influence.  Happiness must lead to other forms of social goods but not just an end that is realized. Happiness itself is found in the very simplicity of nature and the coherence of humans with it. Jess’s parents seem to set happiness as the ultimate goal found in the Indian culture. The development they make of human good develops many issues for their daughter. Indeed, happiness is not the ultimate goal that should be pursued. The ultimate goal of bending the ball like Beckham is what leads to happiness. Therefore, when human beings are coherent with the provisions of nature, they can be happy. Jess clings on to this fact and is determined to be happy against all odds. This later translates to productivity which makes her excel in what she is doing. This is what true happiness is all about (Seligman, 2004).

Jess is taking a natural course and believes that social integration will make her happy as she even befriends her coach. Her parents on the other hand seem to be battling with this natural course. They are in pursuit of good things like Pinkie’s wedding and are confident that this will bring the ultimate goal, happiness. However, Jess is looking out for happiness in a manner that seems to be a reverse order in her parent’s case. Her ultimate goal is to perfect her skill like Beckham and she will stop at nothing less of that.  Therefore, happiness is not merely a social good. Having a peace of mind and friendship that contributes to good life together with having moderation of everything that is in existence brings about happiness (Seligman, 2004).

Happiness exists where there is physical and internal liberty. The challenge in this film is about cultural affiliations. True liberty on the other hand exists in places where there is no tussle. When an individual’s life flows without turbulence in the well defined natural path of life, happiness is likely to be found.  Happiness is sought. It is not given and achieved through a presentation of cultural norms and values. The act of hindering other people to live normal life is the main obstacle hindering people’s happiness. Jules’ mother is also one such character who thinks that mixing with the Indian people will be a source of unhappiness to her. The film generally depicts the challenges people have faced in making an effort to be happy within the society. There seems to be a standard of happiness that the society has already made that people are struggling to achieve. However, these standards that have been set do not actually define true happiness. There is more to life other than just feeling good and conforming to the standards of the society (Ahmed, 2007). Happiness is a very diverse concept that is realized in different ways and that is why people have different ambitions in life.


The displacement of a social wish and the pursuit of personal interests in the most natural way is the true realization of happiness on any individual. Happiness is not merely a social good. Happiness is found where there is liberty. Happiness cannot be achieved by inclining to societal values, norms and wishes alone. The happiness of everyone in the society is of equal significance and must be respected. If there is poor development in the reasoning of human beings or if the human reasoning is used inappropriately, it would be difficult to define the way to attain results anticipated or what was thought to bring about happiness in people. Jess’ and Jules’ parents seem to be missing out on the true definition of happiness. Pursuing happiness in the most natural path of life is a superior form of happiness other than just pursuing the standards of the society. When an individual seeks that inner attribute that comes along with the quiet voice that says, ‘this is the real me’ and the individual chooses to follow that attribute, then that will definitely lead to true happiness.  

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