Review | Beckham

All over the world, David and Victoria Beckham are commonly associated with the elite of the rich and famous. Believe it or not, the superstar footballer and smash-hit popstar have been in our lives for the past 25 years, and although exclusively private people, they have decided that now is the right time to open the doors to their family home and tell their own story to millions of fans globally.

The recent, long-awaited Netflix documentary, Beckham, shows the softer side of the 48-year-old, whilst capturing the stand-out moments from his stellar career.

The four-part series starts with Beckham’s early days as a young prodigy of Manchester United, who quickly won over the hearts of the country as the biggest name in international football. At this time, his soon-to-be wife, Victoria Adams, was making waves of her own as Posh Spice in the legendary English pop group, the Spice Girls. The documentary quickly tells of their meeting and their upbringings.

“We were very working class,” said Victoria Beckham.

“Be honest,” replied her husband, David.

As it turns out, Victoria Beckham’s father would drive her to school in a Rolls Royce. Beckham’s upbringing was completely focused on football, supported by his father, who always dreamed of being a player himself. At one stage of the film, his father recalled the proud feeling and emotions he felt knowing that his son would eventually become a player and even captain the national team, making a poignant moment in the documentary.

The documentary tackles some of Beckham’s most controversial moments of his career. Most notably, the 1998 FIFA World Cup. In what was to be the most momentous occasion of English footballing history in generations, Beckham was pinned to be the saving grace as England progressed into the semi-final knockout stage. The dream would soon turn into a nightmare, as he was awarded a red card for violent on-field conduct and sent off. This led to crowd dissatisfaction and public scrutiny from supporters for years to come, with Beckham even dubbed as the most hated man in Britain.

Beckham emotionally tells of the hurt and damaging headspace he was in throughout that period, and how he courageously overcame the criticism and rebuilt his career. This provided a powerful moment in the documentary, sending an important message to viewers about making mistakes and how he picked himself up again when the going got tough.

In 2004, Beckham was signed by Real Madrid, one of the most prestigious teams in the sport. This part of the documentary unfolded amid the ongoing tension between him and well-respected Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Fergusson. For any football fan, this is instinctively interesting as both sides have their say and put rumours to rest about their alleged falling out. 

From Manchester to Madrid, and then onto Los Angeles, the latter episodes of the documentary cover how the Beckhams moved from country to country, packing up their lives, and starting a new life in three different cities. His welcome to Los Angeles was as glamourous as it gets, and even included a welcoming party jointly hosted by Tom Cruise and Will Smith. His tenure with the small-known Los Angeles Galaxy proved to be somewhat of a challenge for Beckham, who admittedly was over-qualified for the team. But in true Beckham fashion, the transformation of the team from bottom to top of the leaderboard would eventually happen, but not without a few bumps in the road along the way.

The documentary series finishes with Beckham’s stint with Paris Saint-Germain F.C., before calling it quits after just five months. An emotional farewell, Beckham’s retirement ended just as his career started, as one of the world’s best footballers. Although no longer a player on the field, his most recent project has been back in the United States, setting up Inter Miami C.F., lending his hand as both the owner and president.

The documentary touches on Beckham’s lighter family side. His boyish habits as a young player in the late 1990s, which included spending an entire £50,000 brand sponsorship fee on a sportscar, his constant desire to spend, and his current home life as a humble beekeeper with a barbequing hobby. 

For any football fan, Beckham is a must-watch. For those without a sporting side, the inner workings of the football industry prove to be an enticing watch, with many unexpected twists and turns, and a better understanding of the man behind the name.