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Netflix’s “Britney vs. Spears” Documentary: Nothing New to Report

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Netflix recently came out with their own Britney Spears documentary: “Britney vs. Spears.” This one joins a long list of documentaries depicting her life, from Disney child star to pop princess, whose life has been highly publicized for many different reasons. Celebrity documentaries have become popular in the last number of years as we seek to understand the backstory of some of our favorite public figures. Britney has been the subject of many of these documentaries as she continues to deal with her conservatorship, a rare scenario seen publicly. It has left her fans and those following the story confused with many unanswered questions.

A little backstory in case you have not kept up with this saga: Britney Spears has been under a conservatorship for the last thirteen years. She, therefore, has had no control over pretty much everything in her life. Up until last month, her father, Jamie Spears, was her conservator. He was the one to make all decisions for her, from finances, healthcare, housing, the list goes on. Thankfully, he was suspended as her sole conservator and replaced by an independent one. Jamie originally applied for a temporary conservatorship back in 2008 when Britney’s life was spiraling out of control. You may have heard about the infamous head-shaving incident, as well as the multiple stints to rehab, and a messy divorce and custody battle with her ex-husband Kevin Federline.

Was a conservatorship necessary at the time? That is debatable.

“Britney vs. Spears” delves into whether Britney was the correct candidate for such a strict form of control. While she was going through a troubling time and needed help getting her life back on track, having her father be the force behind it was toxic for their relationship and the rest of the Spears family.

The documentary is insightful, especially for a viewer who is not very knowledgeable about her life. It offers a lot of background on how the conservatorship came about and the primary players that caused Britney to spiral out of control. Some of these notable people were interviewed throughout the documentary. These included: Adnan Ghabib, a former paparazzo who later oddly became her boyfriend; her former manager Sam Lutfi, who many believe was the reason for her struggles; and Dr. James Edward Spar, the psychiatrist who signed papers that stated that Britney had dementia and therefore was a suitable candidate for a conservatorship, despite being only 27 at the time. While the interviewees were questioned extensively regarding their involvement with Britney and the conservatorship, no one provided new information that was not already out there. They all maintained a defensive approach, clearly showing that they may not be as innocent as they would like people to believe.

It is hard to know if we will ever get the complete truth of what Britney has and continues to endure. Documentaries like this can only get so much information, especially when there are a lot of guilty parties involved and the impossibility of infiltrating the inner circle of the Spears family. Britney’s 23-minute public testimony she gave in the Los Angeles County Superior Court back in June offered a lot of insight into just how restrictive her life has been in the last thirteen years. A weekly allowance, attending therapy with an abusive psychiatrist, and also being forced to remain on birth control despite wanting a baby with her fiancé Sam Asghari are just a few of the revelations she made. However, recapping all the hardships and struggles for that length of time is merely impossible in just one testimony. As time goes on and her case continues to play out in court, the public will be able to piece together what Jamie and the rest of the Spears family did not want to come out publicly. While documentaries like “Britney vs. Spears” can give fans a rough idea of what has happened, they will never be able to cover the magnitude of a situation like her conservatorship. Those who have followed the #FreeBritney movement know that the only way of getting the entire truth is by hearing it directly from her mouth, not from those around her who claim they want the best for her, or a chirpy Instagram caption that she more than likely did not write.

Amélie is a Communication and Sociology major at the University of Connecticut. She enjoys reading, writing, music, and all things pop-culture related
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