It will not be the first, nor will it be the last documentary to come out about the tangled and toxic relationship between Britney, the beloved ‘Princess of Pop’, and her father, Jamie Spears. But “Britney vs. Jamie: Family Trials”, without a doubt, is one of the most successful attempts to portray the before, during and after a legal guardianship whose ravages will, unfortunately, be permanent.
Directed by Marcus English, this documentary –originally released a few months ago on Discovery Plus—consists of two episodes in which the same number of minutes is allocated to the position of each one of those involved. In this sense, we begin with a kind of defense around the role that Jaime Spears had as legal guardian of her famous daughter, and we end with a terrible description of the damage that Britney denounces having suffered throughout thirteen years without being able to decide for herself. herself.
In the part linked to the position of Jamie Spears, the HBO Max documentary begins by describing the harsh childhood that this character had. He is told how he witnessed the suicide of his mother, who could not bear to see his last son die. This, according to one of the participants in the documentary, created in Jamie an undeniable “instinct over protector” that he would later exert on his own family.
Among the main strengths of the documentary is that it is totally far from a static idea. The production has toured not only the places where Britney was born and lived in her early years, but also those towns where her father was trained, a man highly regarded by neighbors who at no time spare praise for him. All agree that the character would be incapable of seeking to harm any of his own.
LOOK: Director of “Framing Britney Spears” tells us about the documentary | VIDEO
But along the same lines, and skipping at times to what will come in the second episode of “Britney vs. Jamie: Family Trials”, It must be said that the plot of this production does not evade sensitive issues, such as the problems of Britney’s father to support his family, to get a stable job, to achieve success in his business ventures and, finally, to overcome his problems with alcohol.
A good way to judge the list of documentaries about the personal and artistic history of Britney Spears can be pointing out each of the voices that participate in them. The case of “Family Trials” is undoubtedly an unbeatable example, with journalists, neighbors, schoolteachers, lawyers, make-up artists and even members of Britney’s tour staff trying to contribute their own knowledge about the stormy bond between father and daughter.
But there is an element that floats throughout both episodes, and it is linked to a big question: Has the relationship between Britney and her father been complicated since the beginning of the guardianship? The answer, clearly, is no. According to the testimonies of acquaintances on both sides, the link between an overprotective dad and a star aspiring girl was always complex. “The tragic thing is that when she was a child they treated her as an adult and as an adult she was infantilized,” says the artist’s first lawyer rightly in the epilogue of the HBO Max documentary.
As this last line makes clear, once Jamie and his wife Lynne saw artistic potential in their daughter they didn’t stop until they exploited it in every possible way. In the pro-father version it is clear that the beginnings were very complicated and it was Jamie who put the family on his shoulder so that things could move forward. But on the other side, a story is painted in which, since adolescence, Britney could not if she wants to have a say in decisions regarding her professional future.
World fame, the over-exploitation of her image, an extremely overloaded schedule, the impossibility of deciding on absolutely basic things, led to a terrible ‘distance’ between Britney and Jamie, which perhaps found a recess when the young artist “found ” love. The documentary, yes, mentions not the most mediatic, but the romances that were in the darkest moments of the public life of the ‘Princess of pop’. In that line, Jason Alexander, Kevin Federline and, finally, Sam Asghari appear. With all of them the relationship had a fast start and a resounding end.
But there is one of these three that perhaps stands out much more. This is Kevin Federline, the dancer with whom Britney fell in love to the point of having two children. The relationship would end not only with a divorce but, worse still, with a legal battle for custody of the children, perhaps the singer’s Achilles heel. When she lost the possibility of sharing daily with her conceited, everything would fall apart with unusual speed.
Two elements cannot be postponed when commenting on the documentary. The first, the work of the yellow press surrounding, permanently harassing the singer. From her emergence as a ‘Princess of Pop’ to her internment in psychiatric and rehab centers, there were always paparazzi after her. Paradoxically, when they said they were “concerned” about Spears’ state of mental health, they actually hurt her more, because each photograph of her exposing her life or that of her children to danger was further evidence in favor of Spears’ legal position. Federline during the legal battle for custody of the minors.
“Britney vs. Jamie: Family Trials” nothing is spared and shows the worst moments of the singer. Stumbling when leaving a store, shaving her head to avoid having a hair pulled out in the trial for the custody of her children (and thus not give reasons for a toxicological result to distance her from her conceited ones), hitting two paparazzi with an umbrella, and complaining in the middle of the show that “he’s sick and has a 40-degree fever.”
As the last element, although not necessarily the least important, it is worth mentioning that between the beginning of the guardianship and the end of it (end of the year 2021) a new factor was present: social networks. Britney Spears today seems determined to unload from her all the traumas of her thirteen years “subjected” by her father, and every so often she publishes a new testimony of her recounting her bitter experience. “Even those sentenced to death are allowed to smoke a cigarette. I couldn’t even do that, ”she says in one of her posts.
If this kind of vent will allow him to heal his wounds or if, on the contrary, it will delve deeper into his emotional crisis, it will surely be the subject of a future documentary. For now, “Britney vs. Jamie: Family Trials” is a wonderful opportunity to see how no one is prepared for the consequences of fame in a world that is hectic, insensitive and eager for stars from which it needs to squeeze every last drop. Worse still if those around them decide, using the excuse of ‘taking care of them’– to isolate them from anyone who seeks to tell them the truth.
“Britney vs. Jamie: Family Trials” / HBO MAX
director: Marcus English
Synopsis: After thirteen years, Britney Spears finally gets rid of her father’s guardianship. Did Jamie really want to save her daughter or was it all a plan to control every sphere of the pop star’s life?
Duration: 2 episodes