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‘Controlling Britney Spears’ Review: Leftover Story Leads Nowhere

When does the documenting of Spears’ trauma begin to turn into its personal type of exploitation?

Each time I consider Britney Spears I can’t assist however consider Marilyn Monroe. Like Spears, Monroe was underestimated, abused, and her picture stays so closely exploited that her face is on every part from t-shirts to selling rehab facilities (which you, too, can see each time you journey down Hollywood Boulevard). And whereas Spears is perhaps inching ever nearer to profitable the liberty that’s eluded her for the final 13 years, the quantity of content material that’s being created in her leadup to freedom nonetheless feels…scummy?

Living proof: The shock launch of the continuation of The New York Times Presents sequence, “Controlling Britney Spears” was introduced early on Friday. The announcement happened as out of left discipline because the upcoming launch of Netflix’s extremely anticipated shock documentary “Britney vs. Spears.” The place Netflix’s documentary is ready to launch simply at some point earlier than Spears’ newest court docket listening to, this new NYT addendum to final yr’s “Framing Britney Spears” appears like a determined try and steal a number of the wind from Netflix. This may work for one thing just like the Fyre Pageant or Tiger King, however right here it appears like two media entities making an attempt to compete for the juiciest reveal of a girl whose life has already been closely exploited.

Within the rush to jockey with Netflix, it may need been higher to query whether or not there was something new to inform, as a lot of “Controlling Britney Spears” appears like leftover story angles that there weren’t time for in “Framing Britney Spears.” Clocking in at slightly over an hour, “Controlling Britney Spears” lacks the urgency of its predecessor. The place that movie served as a chink within the armor of Spears’ conservatorship, this documentary comes off as a sequence of Twitter “Prime Trending” matters, detailing the degrees of management that Britney Spears was underneath, from safety bugging her cellphone and inserting listening units in her bed room to controlling entry to her mates.

The safety bugging has been mentioned within the shadows of the gossip world for just a few years, and if The New York Instances Presents needed to actually blow Netflix out of the water, they shouldn’t have performed issues so secure. Onscreen textual content discusses 180 hours of audio from Spears, recorded presumably with out her information, with one speaking head saying he allegedly stored a duplicate. This copy is rarely produced on the documentary, neither is there follow-up on what’s on it and why he determined to maintain it. For somebody who felt it was bizarre for them to document the audio in any respect, he didn’t appear equally weirded out preserving a duplicate. It’s later mentioned a lot of this audio was taken from her bed room, although the documentarians by no means go as far as to query whether or not her sexual actions had been illegally obtained.

THE NEW YORK TIMES PRESENTS "Framing Britney Spears" Episode 6 (Airs Friday, February 5, 10:00 pm/ep) -- Pictured: Britney Spears. CR: FX

“Framing Britney Spears”

Courtesy of FX

There’s an odd degree of respect (or perhaps concern) to be too open about what’s now presumably being secretly launched from these contained in the conservatorship, and but the place “Framing Britney Spears” felt like a means of telling Spears’ story, “Controlling Britney Spears” doesn’t. Sure, there are moments that, in hindsight, we’re seeing mirrored again in a disturbing means. The documentary contains giant swaths of earlier documentaries like “I Am Britney Spears” and “Britney Spears: For the Document” that present what we now might represent as James Spears’ management over his daughter. However that is all a rehash of trauma we’ve heard from quite a few sources, from Ronan Farrow to Spears herself.

When “Framing Britney Spears” got here out I mentioned how the documentary avoided looking at conservatorships as a disability rights issue. It’s one thing New York Instances author Liz Day mentioned was eye-opening to her upon investigating Spears’ case. And but it’s nonetheless by no means touched on almost about Spears’ case. Speaking heads focus on how they don’t perceive how they missed issues, simply content material to consider it was “a part of the conservatorship” and for Spears’ personal security. A clip defining what a conservatorship is makes use of the aged, whereas Day herself received’t say “disabled” however as an alternative makes use of the phrase “weak.” It’s arduous to not say that individuals didn’t really feel involved for Spears as a result of that’s so typically what occurs when the notion of incapacity is introduced in.

It’s potential that Netflix’s documentary could possibly be simply as devoid of recent materials as this, however they each beg the query: When does the documenting of Spears’ trauma begin to be its personal type of exploitation? Based mostly on what’s delivered throughout the total hour of “Controlling Britney Spears,” the hope is that simply recycling what we missed on social media shall be sufficient to stir the lots in the direction of doing… one thing? It simply doesn’t essentially really feel like caring.

Grade: C-

“Controlling Britney Spears” is now streaming on Hulu.

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https://www.indiewire.com/2021/09/controlling-britney-spears-review-1234667321/ | ‘Controlling Britney Spears’ Evaluate: Leftover Story Leads Nowhere

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