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Beckham documentary dives deeper than soccer


Opinion Co-Editor JACK ALBRITTON

     On Oct. 4 of this year, Netflix’s new four-part documentary “Beckham” was released, taking sports and pop culture fans by storm. “Beckham” revolves around the iconic life and career of David Beckham, who is known for his soccer skills and influence playing for the English national team, along with his celebrity lifestyle off the pitch. Because the documentary is produced by Beckham’s own production company, it gives a unique insight into his perspective on the major events throughout his playing career and personal life.

     “Beckham” takes the viewer through the soccer star’s early life in working-class England, all the way through his retirement process, covering most of the major highs and lows of his career in between. Two of the most significant events covered by this series are Beckham’s relationship with his wife, Posh Spice (Victoria Beckham), and his notorious red card in the 1998 World Cup when England played Argentina. England failed to advance in the tournament, and many English fans blamed Beckham’s conduct on the field as the main reason for this loss.

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     Beckham’s treatment from the fans after that incident led the star to feelings of isolation and significant mental health struggles. Beckham and his wife's recount of this period is the most compelling part of the series, as the couple gets emotional discussing how hard it was to deal with Bekham’s depression at a time when seeking help for mental health issues was not normalized like it is today.

     “Beckham” also touches on how the Beckham family attempted to shield themselves and their children from the media spotlight, especially after the birth of their first child. As with many documentaries about celebrities, the series alludes to the invasive nature of the press and paparazzi. However, the series also suggests that Beckham actively cultivated the spotlight and enjoyed the company of celebrity friends. While I understand Beckham’s concern for his family in this part of the documentary, it seems a little out of touch to complain about the media while also intentionally making public appearances and statements outside of his soccer games.

     The interviews with Beckham’s close family members, former teammates and rival opponents make this docuseries especially entertaining, allowing the viewer to see Beckham’s life from many perspectives besides his own. I also really enjoyed the cinematography of this series, as this documentary contains great footage of the Beckhams’ home life, which is incorporated throughout the documentary along with footage of soccer. Overall, this is a compelling and well-produced documentary that is put together in a way that even people who are not die-hard soccer fans can enjoy.

     I found this series very interesting to watch and especially liked how it shines a light on the mental health struggles and feelings of alienation that even the most beloved sports stars can experience during difficult times. On the other hand, it is also clear that this series is not the most objective look at Beckham in that it consistently paints his actions in a favorable light. Despite this minor flaw, “Beckham” is worth a look for both soccer fans and anyone who wants to see the world of celebrities in the late 90’s and early 2000’s.

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