Framing Britney Spears is THE most talked about documentary in America right now, and it’s coming to the UK – so how and when can we watch?
And what is the controversy about? Here’s everything you need to know…
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Framing Britney Spears: What’s it about?
Framing Britney Spears is an unauthorised documentary which mainly focuses on the singer’s current legal battle with her dad Jamie.
Produced by the New York Times, it examines Britney’s attempts to remove her father from her conservatorship.
Fans of Britney will know that her dad has a court-appointed guardianship which is usually reserved for elderly and infirm people.
Unbelievably, perhaps, Britney has no control of her own money and is fighting against her father, 68, to gain control of her £46million empire.
He has controlled Britney’s finances since 2008, after she suffered a very public breakdown.
Britney was placed under a temporary conservatorship by Jamie and a lawyer called Andrew Wallet.
The doc also looks at how Britney, 39, was scrutinised and sexualised in the public eye.
It looks back over her pop career and her well-documented mental health problems.
Framing Britney Spears: How can I watch it?
Framing Britney Spears was released in the US earlier this year, but now it is coming to the UK.
The documentary will air on Sky Documentaries and NOW TV at 9pm on Tuesday February 16 2021.
After that, it will be available to watch on demand on NOW TV.
Why has the documentary caused such controversy?
The documentary has prompted sympathy for Britney and boosted the huge #FreeBritney movement of supportive fans.
Many celebrities including Miley Cyrus and Sarah Jessica Parker have also backed the movement and shown support for Britney.
Paramore singer Hayley Williams tweeted to say “no artist today would have to endure the literal torture that media/society/utter misogynists inflicted upon her”.
Sheridan Smith tweeted: “Oh my goodness, someone sent me a copy of the Britney documentary and it is heartbreaking. Really got to me.
“I hope you are all okay. Especially at this rubbish time. Please reach out if you need help #MentalHealthMatters (sic).”
Popular singer and actor Justin Timberlake, 40, comes off badly in the documentary.
Britney dated ex-boyfriend Justin from 1999 to 2002.
When they split, audio clips were released of Justin crudely bragging about sleeping with the star.
He has since apologised.
In a statement to his 60million Instagram followers, he said he was “deeply sorry” and wanted to “take accountability”.
Framing Britney Spears asks vital questions about the legality of her circumstances, and misogyny and sexism in the media at large.
What has Britney said about the documentary?
Britney hasn’t directly responded to the documentary, and does not appear in it.
However, she recently posted a video on Instagram of her performing Toxic on stage three years ago.
She told her 27million online followers: “I’ll always love being on stage.
“But I am taking the time to learn and be a normal person. I love simply enjoying the basics of everyday life!”
What have critics said?
The Evening Standard describes the doc as “gripping but upsetting” viewing.
A review says: “While it may not change anything for her legally, it reasserts her legacy as a once-in-a-generation star – and decisively shames the misogynists and rubberneckers who have dogged her career.”
Variety says: “This film provides a sort of pocket portrait of a person for whom freedom has been denied, and for whom that denial comes as no surprise. Before her father, the culture that idolised her had kept her a captive, too.”
The Guardian adds: “What is clear is our continued fixation with her, our collective culpability in even passing interest, the misogynistic, cruel cultural mores – whether for sex or mental health – that become clear in rearview, too late.”
The court battle so far
Last November, Britney unsuccessfully tried to oust her father from his role as conservator of her estate.
Meanwhile Jamie launched a legal bid to take more control, but this also failed.
Instead, a judge appointed wealth management firm the Bessemer Trust as co-conservator.
At the time, Britney’s lawyer said she was scared of her father and would not resume her career while he had power over it.
Last week, Jamie Spears lost his battle to keep sole control of her investments in the latest round of their court battle.
Framing Britney Spears airs on Sky Documentaries and NOW TV on Tuesday February 16 at 9pm.
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