The #FreeBritney movement is in full force, thanks to this documentary

Britney Spears attends Sony Pictures' "Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood" Los Angeles Premiere on July 22, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic) (Axelle/Bauer-Griffin, 2019 Axelle/Bauer-Griffin)

A new documentary about Britney Spears has been released, and it has people finally plugged into the #FreeBritney movement that has been going on for the past few years.

EXPLAINER: Calls to #FreeBritney and court conservatorships

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The documentary, called “Framing Britney Spears,” is a part of a New York Times series that does deep dives into various topics. The documentary is just more than an hour long, but it does an excellent job at informing viewers of Spears’ ongoing conservatorship that involves her father, Jamie Spears.

Much of the documentary fleshes out what exactly a conservatorship is, and how her father is basically controlling her life and finances because of it. A lot of Britney Spears fans are probably aware of her ongoing legal troubles, but for those who just wrote her off as a has-been pop star, they will likely be enlightened by her current situation.

The average viewer might not know about her conservatorship, so that alone is huge -- to get more people aware of how she is being treated by her father and his lawyers (allegedly), but the beginning of the documentary is interesting too, as filmmakers explore how Spears rose to fame, and how she dealt with it.

Thankfully, as a society, we’ve come a long way with how we view and deal with people living with mental health issues.

And, partially thanks to the #MeToo movement, the way the entertainment industry and the media treats women has also started to change, but that wasn’t the case for Spears when she found fame in the late ‘90s and early 2000s.

By interviewing old confidants of Spears and showing just how ruthlessly some outlets treated her, the documentary makes a case for how her breakdown in 2007 came to be.

Most will probably remember the scandals that surrounded Spears at the height of her fame, from her break-up with Justin Timberlake to being endlessly chased by the paparazzi. The documentary shows interviews of Spears with journalists like Matt Lauer and Diane Sawyer, who asked her questions that a man would likely never get asked.

There are clips shown of late-night hosts making cruel jokes at Spears’ expense, and interviews with paparazzi photographers who still show almost no remorse for the role they played in her mental breakdown.

Watching all these clips and interviews in 2021 feels so much different than when it all unfolded, about 15 years ago. As a society, we were clearly at such a different place. Spears was seen as a stupid blonde pop star who was only there for our entertainment and pleasure. Seeing how she was clearly crying out for help, it’s heartbreaking to think that few stepped up and said “enough is enough.”

The big question that remains is, what happens next to Spears?

The documentary certainly has folks talking, and questioning why a woman who can perform in a Las Vegas residency, judge on a hit singing competition show and make appearances on talk shows needs to be under a conservatorship.

Will this documentary move the needle? Will Britney be able to break free from her conservatorship? Only time will tell, but documentaries like this are the first step in informing the public.

If you have Hulu, you can watch the documentary there, as well. It was originally on FX.

About the Author

Jack is a Digital Content Editor with a degree in creative writing and French from Western Michigan University. He specializes in writing about movies, food and the latest TV shows.

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