Posh and Becks (Photo: Netflix)
Posh and Becks (Photo: Netflix)

Pop CultureOctober 18, 2023

Review: Hate football? Here’s why you’ll still love Beckham

Posh and Becks (Photo: Netflix)
Posh and Becks (Photo: Netflix)

Whether you’re a fan of football, celebrity gossip or amateur beekeeping, Netflix’s Beckham has something for everyone. 

The lowdown

Beckham is a four-part documentary series following the meteoric rise of one of football’s biggest names – and one half of Britain’s most famous non-royal couple. Directed by Fisher Stevens (The Cove, Tiger King, Hugo in Succession), the series promises never-before-seen footage, reflections on career controversies and an invitation into the private lives of Posh and Becks. Prepare to meet not just Beckham the footballer, but Beckham… the beekeeper. 

The good

If you love football, you’ll love this. If you hate football, well, so does Posh Spice – she has no qualms revelling in her total indifference towards the sport throughout the series. Thankfully for Posh, Beckham is about a lot more than her most loathed pursuit. It’s a fascinating four-part study of late 90s celebrity, the rat king of sport, money and masculinity, the twisted tabloids of Britain, the heyday of hooliganism and the groundbreaking evolution of men’s hairstyles from 1996-2023. 

It’s also, sorry to be a cornball, about trying really hard and never giving up! And sorry to make things even sappier, but it’s also just an incredible love story full of dazzling gossipy details. The night before the 1998 World Cup qualifier, Victoria tells David that she is pregnant. When the Spice Girls go on a world tour, David charters a tiny plane just to see her for two hours. When they eventually have said baby, they dress him in a tiny bright purple cowboy hat. That’s love. 

Beckhams also love bandanas

Posh and Becks also remain a surprisingly playful pair of weirdos. When Victoria is reflecting on her “working class” childhood in an interview, David pokes his troll face through a nearby door. “Be honest!” he goads, grinning. “What car did your dad drive you to school in?” She attempts to push on with the narrative, but he’s not giving up. “What car was it?” Victoria sighs. “OK, it was a Rolls Royce.” Later, David cooks a single mushroom on the grill for seemingly no reason. 

What’s also fantastic is the archive material, and not just because of the 90s and Y2K fashion (sarongs and bandanas). Whether it’s a broken Beckham slinking back into Manchester United HQ after getting that World Cup-ruining red card, or coyly negotiating a room filled with four fifths of the Spice Girls, these VHS-quality scenes feel much more intimate and revealing than the swishly staged, shallow focus interview set-ups of the present day. 

The not-so-good

Director Fisher Stevens maintains a mildly irritating presence in the documentary, chiming in from behind the camera harder than a Brendon Urie at a beautiful wedding. At times it can feel like you’re watching a really long Vogue 73 Questions interview, and hearing the weak quips and softball questions serves only as a constant reminder that this is very much also a Big Beckham production (David Beckham is, of course, an executive producer). 

That’s no clearer in how the trickier parts of his story are handled (or, in the instance of his controversial Qatar World Cup role, ignored completely). When the series comes up against the infamous Rebecca Loos affair allegations, there is a bizarre vagueness around the whole saga that leaves more questions than answers – no categorical denial as there’s been in the past, no mention of her name, just evasive murmurs around “horrible stories” being “difficult to deal with”.

Becks gets serious (Photo: Netflix)

As David says himself, ultimately it’s their private life. But there is a tension between the tell-all framing of the documentary and the way the Beckhams oscillate from revealing confessions (Victoria enduring the “Posh takes it up the ass” chant comes to mind) to saying… not much at all. As you watch David fastidiously align his coathangers to be exactly the same width apart, it starts to make sense that he might be a touch controlled in how he chooses his words. 

The verdict

Despite moments of haziness, Beckham remains an extremely entertaining and engrossing portrait of both one of the famous footballers of all time, and the most fascinating celebrity couple of the last half century. Cook yourself a single mushroom on the grill and enjoy. 

Beckham is available to watch now on Netflix.

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