Review: ‘Framing Britney Spears’

Documentary “Framing Britney Spears” was released earlier this year to raise awareness about the conservatorship that Britney Spears is currently under

by Ellie Larsen, Reporter, Assistant Editor

“Framing Britney Spears” is a documentary produced by The New York Times released earlier this year on February 5. The film provides insight into her career and legal battles, as well as providing a window into the sexualization she had to face from a very young age.

“Framing Britney Spears” paints a very disturbing picture of the culture surrounding women at the time when her career first took off.  Spears faced derogatory language, demeaning words such as “sweetheart,” sexulaization from the media, and had to deal with violating questions about her body regularly, according to the documentary. 

It worsed after the breakup between her and ex-boyfriend Justin Timberlake, who bragged about having sex with her, after she publicly stated that she was waiting until marriage. Slut shaming ensued, including facing brutality from the media as well as being painted as the victimizer. 

In 2007, her father, Jamie Spears, was appointed as Spears’ conservator because of her struggling mental health. Her father was appointed against her wishes, according to the documentary, she had requested a professional. 

According to the California Courts Website, “a conservatorship is a court case where a judge appoints a responsible person or organization (called the ‘conservator’) to care for another adult (called the ‘conservatee’) who cannot care for himself or herself or manage his or her own finances.”

Normally, a conservatorship is used for elderly people who are unable to take care of themselves, and under the conservatorship Spears had almost no control over her life–she couldn’t even pick her own lawyer. 

Spears went back to court again last year to try to have her father removed as her conservator, but the judge ruled against it. 

The idea for the documentary sparked from the freebritney movement, Fans showed their support through the movement raising awareness about Spears’ situation. 

Throughout the struggle, questions have been raised by fans about whether or not this would have happened to a man, and the documentary really shines a light on the sexualization of women that’s become so normalized. 

The film was very well done and had a very cohesive narrative. It would have been more effective with an interview with either Britney or her father Jamie but due to the conservatorship that would be near impossible to accomplish. 

“Framing Britney Spears” is available on FXNow and Hulu.