Review: Framing Britney Spears


Coretta Wilkinson, Reporter

“Free Britney!” 

You’ve probably heard this statement everywhere—from the news, social media, or even on the street. But what does “Free Britney” really mean? 

As of Friday, November 12, 2021, Britney Spears is finally free. Her conservatorship of 13 years has ended, and fans are rejoicing and celebrating her freedom. This development is something to be proud of, and showcases Spears’ strength and bravery throughout this difficult journey. 

 Framing Britney Spears, a documentary directed by Samantha Stark, explores pop star Britney Spears’ life, her struggles, conservatorship, and the prevailing #FreeBritney movement. The documentary was released earlier this year, on February 5, 2021. It was available through streaming on FX and Hulu and it was an episode from New York Times Presents. Controlling Britney Spears was also a followup documentary that came out on September 27, 2021.

Throughout the film, the audience gets an informative, in-depth, narrative about her life through different perspectives. Fans, backup dancers, paparazzi, and even lawyers from her case share their personal experiences with Spears.

 This is an influential watch that explores many topics which are important to touch on. Learning more about her family, childhood friends, and background was all captivating, and the different perspectives revealed to the audience throughout the documentary was engaging. 

The film starts with fans protesting Spears’ conservatorship. Fans talk about how she inspired them as children. It was easy to relate to them because as a kid growing up in the 2010’s, Spears was everywhere. From her bright pink fashion, catchy songs, and trendy dance moves, the concept of “Britney” was inescapable. 

While I watched the documentary, I grew empathetic towards Spears. I found out more about her sad experiences, and it gave me a new perspective on her. Spears shaving her hair, being harassed by the paparazzi, and being followed were all intense things to watch.  The documentary has a serious tone, yet remains personable. 

Hit by different levels of nostalgia throughout the film, hearing her older songs such as “Oops!…I Did It Again” and “…Baby One More Time” took me back to my early days. I thought it was so cool when I found out that Spears filmed the video for “…Baby One More Time” here at Venice. The fact that she sashayed down the same hallway I walk through everyday is astonishing.

The documentary touches on serious issues and problems she faced. It talks about threats, violence, harassment, and the over-sexualization of young Spears. At one point in the film, it highlights how Spears faced more harassment than boy bands at the time. I thought this was an important topic to touch on.

“Framing Britney Spears” impressed me, especially as it still held up as educational. The way the documentary focused on sexism and mental health is refreshing. It portrays difficult topics through personal lenses and does it effectively.