Last night, as I’m sure everyone on planet Earth is well aware, MTV aired an intimate documentary titled Britney Spears: For The Record that featured the young popstar openly discussing the hellacious year she suffered in 2007, leading up to her mental breakdown in January of 2008, as well as the aftermath and her recent attempts to get her life back in order. Filmed by the documentary filmmakers who made the heady Academy Award-winning doc Fog Of War, For The Record is an intense look at Britney Spears’s life from her perspective, in her own words. Here are a few screencaps from last night’s airing:
Britney Spears’ life has been filled with speculation and scrutiny over the last few years. In “For the Record,” a documentary that aired on MTV on Sunday night, the pop singer finally opened up about her life in the spotlight. “I have good days and I have bad days,” she said in the special. “Sometimes it’s too much. No subject was off limits, and Spears talked about being a mom, her public breakdown and her breakups with Justin Timberlake and Kevin Federline. “For the Record” also gave an all-access pass to her return to the pop scene as she worked on promotion for her album Circus, which included video shoots for “Womanizer” and the title track. Explaining her breakdown, Spears said that she had let the wrong people into her life. “[It was] a really bad time in my life. … I’m not gonna sugarcoat it and say I was OK,” she admitted. “Maybe I had traumatic stress. I just remember I did not want to be at home. When I was in my car, I was driving and I was going somewhere.” Despite the hard times, the singer said she tries not to let them get her down. “Normal is different for everybody,” she said, later adding, “It could be a lot worse. There are people out there who have it a lot worse than I do.” She also admitted that even though her life seems hectic, what with constantly being surrounded by assistants, handlers and the paparazzi, “I choose to be a happy person. If I have a bad day, I get angry with myself.” Britney’s dad, Jamie Spears, and her longtime manager, Larry Rudolph, were also featured in the documentary, as well the pop singer’s mentor, Madonna. “I admire her as an artist,” the Material Girl said, adding that she sees a lot of herself in the young singer. But Spears isn’t just a pop star, she’s also a mother to her two sons. And they are the people in her life that help her hold onto her faith. “I see my babies and say … you have to believe in God,” she said. “How can these two babies be here without there being a God?” At the end of the documentary, she said she hoped that people would understand that she’s just like anybody else. “I love what I do. I love my babies,” she said. “And I work really hard.” She added, “It’s weird. You can see the cruelest part of the world and then on the other side you see the most beautiful. … But they’re worth it. … I’ve been to both places.” In order to stay on that beautiful side, Spears said she’s avoiding the people and things that hurt her: “Now I try to avoid situations from the past that may threaten me. … I go through life like a Karate Kid.”
Many folks have commented that Britney looked sad thruout the documentary … to me, she appeared guarded and very reserved. I imagine that she is not used to baring her soul in such an open fashion. Despite her immense fame, she has never been afforded the opportunity to talk so openly about her life — the good and the bad — on such a grand scale. While there may have been tinges of sadness in the piece, I think the overwhelming tone was a guarded one (think of an injured bird that has had both of its wings broken and, in the course of the healing process, has to trust an outstretched hand that she is being helped and won’t be hurt again). I was very impressed with how much Britney opened up to the cameras … I found it wholly fascinating to see what her life is like on the inside. I must admit, it doesn’t look fun. But it appears to be all she’s ever known … she even talked a bit about how she isn’t complaining about how her life turned out, she’s just trying to deal with the realities as she deals with very strong personal issues at the same time. It’s a great sight to see her surrounded by her close friends and family members (Jamie Spears, Brett Miller, Larry Rudolph) — it’s a far cry from the days when she was running around with that lecherous trash that almost led her to her destruction last year (Lutfi, Sims, Ghalib). I’m sure some people will complain that there were many things she did not discuss in the doc but, for me, I was impressed that she even agreed to talk about her life at all. This doc totally feels like a Larry Rudolph idea. It is not meant for Britney’s very loyal fans … she will always have those people. This doc was made for the haters, detractors, critics and all around a-holes who take pleasure in ripping the poor girl apart. It’s basically a stripped down look at her as a real person … good or bad, this is who she is. Will it silence her critics? I doubt it. Will it change a few minds? I think so … but in the end, I suspect the act of being so open, so publicly is an integral component of Britney’s rehabilitation (if you will). She fell so far and has to recoup so much that, I think, she needed to (on some level) start over from scratch — baring so much on world-wide television prolly seemed like a good place to start. Again, I was very impressed with this film (and very surprised that Madonna agreed to sit down to be interviewed — that was a very well-kept secret). I just hope that her life continues to level off and that she is better equipped to handle the stresses that come along with being Britney Spears. I believe she can do it.
Britney Spears: For The Record will premiere in the UK on SKY1 tonight and will reair here in the US on MTV today, tomorrow and Wednesday (at least). I’m not sure if the film will be viewable online (at this point, it is not) but if it does become available, I’ll be sure to pass along the info.
UPDATE: Here is Part 1 of the doc: