Why Framing Britney Spears is a very different kind of documentary

The New York Times’ compelling new documentary, Framing Britney Spears, takes us beyond the #FreeBritney movement and looks at both sides of the pop superstar’s troubled experience of fame. 

Supporters of the #FreeBritney movement have, for a very long time now, argued that Britney Spears is being held against her will by people who stand to gain financially from her situation.

Now, in a sensitive and insightful new documentary, The New York Times has made Spears’ controversial conservatorship the subject of its dedicated longform journalism.

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Here’s what you need to know about the film.

What’s the plot of Framing Britney Spears?

Spears has legally been under her father’s guardianship since 2008 – something which is usually limited to people with diminished capacity who might not be capable of making decisions.

“My client has informed me that she is afraid of her father,” Spears’ court-appointed lawyer told a judge last November.

“She will not perform again if her father is in charge of her career.” 

As per The New York Times’ announcement of their new Samantha Stark-directed documentary, however, “Spears entered the conservatorship in 2008, at age 26, when her struggles were on public display.

“Now she is 39, and a growing number of her fans are agitating on her behalf, raising questions about civil liberties while trying to deduce what Spears wants.”

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Framing Britney Spears aims to break down the legal details of Spears’ conservatorship and her court battle with her father. 

It does this through a series of interviews with key insiders, including the marketing executive who originally created Spears’ image, the lawyer currently working on the conservatorship, and the lawyer Spears tried to hire to challenge her father. 

Spears’ fans, too, are offered the chance to speak in the film.

Is there a trailer for Framing Britney Spears?

You can watch the oddly disquieting trailer for Framing Britney Spears below: 

What are people saying about Framing Britney Spears?

Critics have piled praise on the documentary, with Den Of Geek describing it as a “pop horror story” and Variety branding it a “clear-eyed look at a public life gone silent.” 

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All, though, have said that Framing Britney Spears does a very good job of offering a balanced and well-researched look at the new reality of the musician’s life – especially as it explores the role the tabloids played in her “very public 2008 breakdown”, too. 

When is Framing Britney Spears coming out?

The new documentary Framing Britney Spears will air on FX and FX On Hulu in the US on 5 February.

A UK release date has yet to be announced, but it’s expected to be in the spring of 2021. 

Images: Getty

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