Through nostalgic football footage, exclusive commentary from teammates and managers, and intimate interviews with David and Victoria, the Beckham Documentary is a four-part documentary that tells the gripping life story of one of the most iconic football players of all time.
Apparently, there was a time in history when everyone in the world knew who David Beckham was (except a shepherd in Chad), and this documentary by Fisher Stevens is a brilliant memorialisation of the footballer’s story. I only wish that some of the interviews had gone deeper.
Where Can You Watch the Beckham Documentary in the UAE?
Beckham is streaming on Netflix in the UAE. If you don’t have one, you can create a Netflix account to watch this documentary and other shows on Netflix. Unfortunately, Netflix does not offer any free trials in the Middle East, so you’ll have to subscribe for at least one month.
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Beckham Documentary Review
As covered in this four-part documentary, David Beckham quickly progressed to district level as a young footballer, spurred on by his slave-driving yet well-meaning father. Then, in his early teens, David was scouted by manager Alex Ferguson, who chaperoned him until he was ready for bigger things.
Promoted to Manchester United, Beckham joined the likes of Gary Neville to form a formidable squad that would cinch multiple Premier League and FA Cup wins. Sadly, life couldn’t stay sugar-sweet for Beckham forever: clashes between him and Ferguson led to him being booted—literally—from the team. Still today, Beckham describes his ‘heartbreak’ at what happened.
After Manchester United, it was time for Beckham to prove his worth as part of the elite Real Madrid squad (aka the Galácticos). But despite some excellent performances on the pitch, Beckham was once again too freewheeling for his manager’s liking and had to leave after repeatedly being relegated to the bench. And perhaps Beckham’s managers had a point: in between games, he was sneaking off to see Posh, posing in celebrity photoshoots, and causing media frenzies with his new hairstyles and ‘the sarong’. All of this roguishness was a first in the football world, and Beckham’s straight-laced managers didn’t know what to make of it.
And if the disputes with managers weren’t enough, the documentary shows how a pivotal moment could have ruined Beckham’s career forever. During a 1998 World Cup match, Beckham was sent off for kicking Diego Simeone in the leg and was widely blamed for England’s exit from the tournament. For months afterwards, Beckham received insults and threats on- and off-pitch, and we even see footage of people battering his car with his children crying inside. Perhaps seeing those after-effects might remove the smirk from Diego Simeone’s face; Simeone confesses smugly that he was winding Beckham up in the match and exaggerated the leg injury.
But although Beckham gathered a trail of detractors, he managed to win fans back with his stoic, determined attitude to football and his multitude of ‘golden balls’ (an iconic quip from Victoria).
As we learn in the series, those who knew and spent time with the star loved him. Gary Neville, despite forever being in Beckham’s shadow, speaks proudly of his former teammate and close friend. The Galácticos also warmed to Beckham very quickly; one of the most touching moments of the whole documentary, in fact, is when we learn that they begged their manager to let Beckham train with them again after he’d been forced to practise alone. ‘To see David not training with the team, it was a tough moment’ laments Míchel Salgado.
And that’s the picture that the documentary paints of Beckham: a freewheeling, rockstar-like figure in the football world, with a down-to-earth, likeable character and genuine passion for the game.
Die-hard Beckham fans likely knew all of that already, but the documentary adeptly brings that message to a wider audience. It has mainstream appeal down to being a throwback to the 90s and 00s, a pop culture romp, and a sports documentary all in one—not to mention a love story given David’s everlasting marriage to Posh Spice. (We learn that they secretly ‘fancied’ each other before even meeting, and Posh made a convenient ‘work’ trip to one of his games. The rest was history.) Blending football with pop culture, nostalgia, and romance, Fisher Stevens brings a broad viewership to the Beckham documentary.
The only area lacking in the documentary is a sense of how David and Victoria are doing now, after all of the highs and lows. They each speak earnestly about their story and become emotional when discussing David’s bout of depression and the cheating allegations, but there is a sense that many words have been left unspoken between the couple. Victoria’s enduring anger and upset at some of David’s actions—like his serial globetrotting and his near-absence at one of her births—suggests at pent-up emotions, and the pair admit that this is the first time they have reflected properly on their past.
In the end, the most profound insights are made by Beckham’s former teammate, Gary Neville. Where Beckham struggles to articulate feelings or see the bigger picture, Neville speaks in a direct, incisive way about his friend. Beckham needed to stop arguing with Victoria before a match and get in the zone, declared Neville one time. ‘It was like an addict’ adds Neville about his friend’s relationship with Posh Spice.
Neville even says brazenly to the cameras ‘I genuinely believe all football players are addicts’. I wish we had received such self-aware insights from Posh and Becks, as well. The deepest we get is some vague self-deprecation from David when asked about the obsession with Posh and his new fixation with cleanliness.
Yet, however much I complain, the Beckhams have a right to evade some topics—it is their life, after all. And the parts that the pair share in this documentary are certainly worth watching regardless.
From light-hearted jokes about purple wedding suits to more serious discussions of the dramas of professional football, Beckham covers not only David’s esteemed career, but his world-famous marriage with Victoria and her views on all the happenings, too. Despite having zero interest in football and having to move countries countless times, Posh has forever remained at Becks’ side.
I just wonder what their secret is and how they’re really doing now.
Lucy studied modules in cinema and visual culture at university. Her favourite genres include crime, reality, dystopian, and biopics. In addition to writing for Tbreak, Lucy writes and edits for various lifestyle publications.