Victoria Beckham Is the True Star of the Netflix 'Beckham' Doc
Warning: we're going to have to talk about soccer.
We know from the opening scene of Beckham, the Netflix documentary about David Beckham’s life and career, that Victoria is the true hero of the four hourlong episodes.
The Beckhams keep bees in a smattering of hives in a field with white flowers, presumably their country home, a scene so lovely that it could be the setting for a Jacquemus fashion show. Only, David Beckham is worth hundreds of millions of dollars, so he doesn’t need to rent out his bees’ field for Instagram fashion. He needs to zip a beekeeping suit over his double-breasted cardigan, tap his hive, and jar some honey.
Director Fisher Stephens is heard off-camera asking him what he calls this honey. David says, “I think it should be golden bees. Victoria thinks it should be DB’s sticky stuff.”
Make no mistake, this is a documentary about soccer. And it’s so well-done that even people who have no interest in soccer or the vast majority of team sports of the hyper-masculine, chest-thumping variety will find it engrossing. Victoria is featured enough to satisfy those of us (raises hand) who are mainly here to hear from her. She serves as the representative of the viewer who isn’t into soccer and who isn’t a member of any sports fandoms. “I’ve never been into football,” she says. “I like watching him play football.”
Didn’t we all? There’s something exhilarating about watching the person who is the best in the world at one thing do that one thing. But the Beckhams as a pair were something more, one of the most intriguing, era-defining couples of the nineties and aughts, their dual fame turning them into a celebrity supernova and tabloid catnip. Despite being known for their Britishness — he became a star playing for Manchester United, she became a star performing in a girl group synonymous with the Union Jack — they became one of the world’s most famous couples and remain so today.
David is cast right away as a perfectionist, but also something of a homebody. Of course, you would have to be a perfectionist to achieve what he did athletically. He tells us how he turned out this way because of his dad, a Manchester United fanatic, who made him practice soccer moves in the yard as a kid over and over and over again, but never praised him. As a kid, he won so many soccer games back-to-back that, his mom says, it was “weird.” David tells us that he wasn’t intelligent, he wasn’t really anything except good at soccer and driven to please his dad.
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Well, now he’s retired, so what does he do with all that work ethic, that impulse to achieve greatness that his dad drilled into his psyche from early childhood? He cleans. After everyone goes to bed, he stays up tidying until the house resembles a Restoration Hardware catalogue. This isn’t just about a streak-free shine on the stovetop or disappearing the crumbs: “It’s tiring going round every single candle, cleaning it, clipping the wicks,” he says. “That’s my pet hate, is smoke around the inside of the candle.” When he’s not cleaning the main domicile, he’s in a rich-person rustic cabin type of thing on his country property, a sort of high-end Pinterest-y man cave, grilling individual mushrooms — and wiping down its stainless steel sides with the same precision he used to apply to soccer.
Maybe he has to stay home because he gets recognized so much that it’s not fun being out. Maybe being a homebody is comforting after a soccer career that didn’t allow him much time for just that, something Victoria describes begrudgingly accepting throughout the early part of their relationship. When she was on bed rest about to deliver their third child, Cruz, David told her he might miss her scheduled C-section because he had to do a Pepsi photo shoot with Beyoncé and Jennifer Lopez. He ended up rescheduling the shoot, but Victoria saw the photos in the paper while she was recovering from the birth. “I remember someone showing me the front page of the newspaper, which was a gorgeous picture of David between Jennifer Lopez and Beyoncé. And the headline was, 'What would Posh say?'" she says. "Let me tell you what Posh would say. Posh was pissed off!”