The word "circus" isn't just a random occurrence in the recent Netflix series about David Beckham that premiered on Wednesday. In Beckham, the English soccer player who transcended the boundaries of the field in more ways than one, we find a true spectacle of content. There's no need to choose between soap opera or sports drama, scrolling through gossip columns, or a touching personal story.
The four-part documentary offers everything neatly packaged, is heart-warming and leaves viewers feeling elevated.
Beckham shines brilliantly in the documentary that bears his name, "Beckham," even though the retrospective of his life, now at the ripe age of 48, doesn't skip over his humble beginnings. The series was produced for Netflix by Studio 99, the media company he founded in 2019. This, by no means, diminishes its success. It's meticulously crafted, drawing from an extensive video archive that is artfully utilized for a captivating, moving, and delightful edit.
What truly elevates it is the rich and diverse list of interviewees – players who shared the pitch with him across various teams. From Alex Ferguson, who managed Manchester United for years and nurtured Beckham, serving as a father figure until their paths diverged, to his own family, including his wife Victoria. They all come together to discuss Beckham's career and the moments of glory.
David Beckham's life journey is quite well-known. He began his career as a young soccer player at Manchester United in the English Premier League, swiftly rising to stardom. At a fairly early stage, he fell in love with Posh Spice from the "Spice Girls," Victoria Beckham. His career took him from England to Spain, then to the United States, Milan, and finally to Paris before retiring. The family then settled again in the United States.
Along the way, there were highs and lows, often accompanied by clashes with fans who adored and sometimes vilified him. The series is built around the trajectory of Beckham's career and delves into the intriguing and sometimes scandalous headlines surrounding him. It particularly excels in crafting a narrative style akin to legends.
Soccer enthusiasts will delight in discovering behind-the-scenes details of his defining moments, such as the pivotal World Cup match against Argentina, from which he was ejected—perhaps entirely coincidentally—after Victoria informed him the previous evening that she was pregnant.
The buzz around the series heavily focused on the seemingly first-time revelation of Beckham's romance during his tenure with the Galacticos at Real Madrid. But don't believe the hype. A substantial portion of the final episode concentrates on his relationship, but the romance itself remains conspicuously absent from any mention. Even more so, the name Rebecca Loos, who was his assistant at Real Madrid, isn't brought up at all. What's meticulously portrayed are the media reports of the supposed affair and the family's struggle in dealing with the relentless coverage.
Beckham has fashioned for himself a flattering yet not flawless image. He is sensitive to appearances and is willing to expose himself even when it is unflattering and demands the same from Victoria, as she recounts her working-class roots. He doesn't paint a picture of effortless success but rather that of a sensitive and complex perfectionist who takes things to heart. He deeply values his family and security, not entirely convinced it's at the level it should be, having endured more than his share of scrutiny and abuse from his own fan base.
He was not only a soccer phenom but also a style icon, which, strangely enough, seemed to impact his career almost as much as his on-field talent. It's odd, but Beckham instinctively ascended from a charismatic soccer star to the pinnacle of brand endorsements. He knew how to command attention in a way that had every media mouse chasing after him, even if at times it backfired with excessive media scrutiny.
There's a certain contradiction between the colorful, adrenaline-seeking lad and the glamour reflected in media coverage. It's the same person who would ask his wife to fix his hair right after she gave birth in a C-section and the same sensitive man with OCD who meticulously cleans his kitchen late into the night and plans his wardrobe weeks in advance.
But director Fisher Stevens (known for his role as Hugu in "Succession") gradually peels back Beckham's layers and makes the viewers want to believe in this down-to-earth guy with his peculiar hobbies and to root for him as he tends to his barbeque from morning till evening on weekends, or manages his beehives.
Viewers would cheer his success. He has found his footing with a loving family, a dazzling career, and a current role as a soccer club owner in Miami. He justifies the four hours spent watching the docuseries.