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.
Updated on 15 February: 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.
And we can now confirm that the film is coming to Sky Documentaries and NOW TV on Tuesday 16 February at 9pm
As reported on 8 February: Since Framing Britney Spears aired over the weekend, the singer’s name has been trending on Twitter.
And, understandably, the documentary has left many people in shock.
“I now understand the infamous 2007 Britney moment,” reads one tweet. “And I would totally beat the shit outta that paparazzi car window too. Framing Britney Spears is doing a great job at showing us what she was really going through.”
Another reads: “Britney was able to perform several shows a day during her residency, handle promo on all the late night shows, make a new album, and shoot new music videos, but the courts didn’t think she could handle making day to day decisions?”
Paramore’s Hayley Williams tweeted: “The Framing Britney Spears documentary? Holy fuck.
“No artist today would have to endure the literal torture that media/society/utter misogynists inflicted upon her.
“The mental health awareness conversation, culturally, could never be where it is without the awful price she has paid.”
Another viewer tweeted: “Yo, Britney Spears is really actually being held hostage i thought the internet was just being dramatic.”
“’My daughter is gonna be so rich she’s gonna buy me a boat’. So Jamie Spears said this, after being absent from his daughter’s life and this is the person who is in charge of her finances,” tweeted one person of Spears’ controversial conservatorship.
Another said: “Justin Timberlake cheated on his wife on camera and the media focused on that for half a day. Britney showed cleavage at the age of 18 and the media harassed her ever since.”
And Terron Moore noted: “Watching this Framing Britney Spears documentary and processing what happened to her with adult eyes is almost overwhelming. Jesus.”
Here’s what you need to know about the film.
What’s the plot of Framing Britney Spears?
As reported on 5 February: 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.”
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?
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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.
It will be coming to the UK via Sky Documentaries and NOW TV on Tuesday 16 February at 9pm.
Framing Britney Spears is available on Sky Documentaries or with a contract free NOW TV Entertainment Pass for £9.99 a month, a 7-day free trial is available for new users.
Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.