Opinion · Review

New York Times presents “Framing Britney Spears”: Britney Spears and the support to end her conservatorship

Naomi Galindo

Lantern Staff

Many documentaries have been released based on Britney Spears life and conservatorship. Most of these have been released on YouTube. Some of these documentaries do go in depth, but some don’t deliver. “Deep Dive” on YouTube is the unofficial documentary that has been the most successful Britney documentary on the platform. The New York Times released their own documentary on the matter. Produced by Jason Stallman, Sam Dolnic, and Stephanie Priess, this documentary is part of a series of documentaries being released on Hulu. Being from the New York Times, fans of Britney would expect this to be a well-made and unbiased documentary, especially for a mainstream media outlet. The documentary would bring more attention to Britney’s conservatorship and what attributed to the downfall of her career.  

The New York Times documentary “Framing Britney Spears” follows the pop star’s rise to fame to the present day as Spears fights to bring an end to her conservatorship. The documentary features coverage from #FreeBritney protests. Courtesy of Youtube

In recent years, teen pop star, Britney Spears, has been the center of attention and not because of her music, but rather because of the movement #FreeBritney. This movement has been growing in the past year, and the advocates have gone to her hearings in the Los Angeles, California, area. Their goal is to end Britney Spears’ conservatorship, which has been in place since 2008. Many are raising awareness about this issue on social media. In February, The New York Times published a documentary on Hulu named Framing Britney Spears, in which several people behind the movement and people who were part of Britney’s life or her team, talked about how they knew Britney, what it was like working with her and how she was treated by the media.  

Shortly after the release of her documentary the terms, #FreeBritney and #FramingBritneySpears went viral on Twitter. This started a conversation on social media about her mistreatment by the media. The documentary covers every aspect of Britney’s career and until the moment that her conservatorship was implemented. Her conservatorship is controlled by her father, Jamie Spears, who controls her money, career and even makes decisions on what appearances Britney makes on television or any films. Even her ex-husband, Kevin Federline, makes money from the conservatorship.  

The documentary shows every single moment that the media asked Britney questions that would be deemed inappropriate. It focuses a lot on the mistreatment of Britney in the media and all the times that the paparazzi chased her down just to get a picture of her or of her kids. There was also a lot of unseen pictures that were shown throughout the documentary, which gave the audience a glimpse about what happened behind the scenes as Britney rose to fame. When Britney’s first single came out Baby One More Timetopped the charts, yet again she became the subject of controversy. In the late 90’s, her controversy was compared to the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal, which rocked the news at the time.  

The New York Times does a great job covering every single aspect of her career. They don’t paint Britney as someone who is weak, but rather as someone who was victimized by the media. She wasn’t portrayed as a diva either. The documentary is painted in a neutral way, and it really shows everything that Britney experienced during the 2000’s. Every single moment shown in the documentary is something significant that happened throughout Britney’s career, and most of these were not good moments. This will make the audience wonder who really the culprit behind Britney’s conservatorship is. Whether it was the media, her parents or her tumultuous relationships, it seems that someone had a part in it. The media did seem to portray her as a “troubled” star. They all blamed her for her relationship with Justin Timberlake and said that it was all her fault. However, members of her family did not make an appearance in this documentary as they all declined to be interviewed.  

This documentary is worth the watch for those who might not know much about Britney Spears and the #FreeBritney movement. Whether the audience is familiar or not with her work, it is worth a watch because there are celebrities who have gone through the same situation. It’s also insightful because it talks about the stigma behind mental health and how celebrities struggle with it and sometimes, they are not taken seriously. The documentary can be seen from a psychological or sociological standpoint, and it also shows how celebrities can be vulnerable, yet they are made fun of for talking about their feelings.  

I would give this documentary 4.5/5 Lanterns. The New York Times documentary should have added more information about her family life because it would help viewers understand her family and her relationship with her parents and siblings. Although it is mentioned that her father, Jamie, was constantly working and hardly ever in Britney’s life, this could have been explained more in the documentary. Overall, the content in the documentary was well presented, and the research was outstanding.  

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