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Ive always been a huge fan of Britney Spears since her career started. When her life started to spiral out of control, i sometimes wondered what she was doing half the time and wondered what had happened to this young woman who was at the height of her career.This dvd is documentary filmed by MTV over a course of a year as Britney tries to her career back on track and release her 6th studio album "Circus". Britney explains why she did what she did in the past from marrying Kevin Federline to shaving her head in front of tons of paparrazzi. She opens her heart about a lot of issues and for the majority of the time you can't help but feel sorry for her. Her life is constantly in the spotlight and its disgusting how the press and paparrazzi treat her. The documentary also follows Britney as she prepares for the Grammy awards and lets you see behind the scenes of her music video and family life. Overall, this documentary is a must have for any Britney fan or anyone who wants to know more about Britney's life.
With glowing skin, collected composure and speaking with surprising candour, the blonde pop icon blinks and says with refreshing honesty: "I'm a smart person...What the hell was I thinking?!" Not the Britney Spears that the average tabloid consumer would expect to be seeing. Filmed between September 5th 2008 and the release date of her comeback album, Circus, Britney Spears: For the Record is a documentary which allows the viewer to experience the life of one of the world's most famous women - the good, the bad and the ugly. The star of the film, of course, needs no introduction. Her breakdown was highly publicised - the head-shaving, the custody battles and the sectioning, but this documentary attempts to show a slightly more uplifting side to the tale - as Britney attempts to emerge from the darkness and move back into the spotlight. Running at 67 minutes long, the documentary is a refreshingly honest depiction of Britney's life today. Some of it is exciting, some moments are a little dull, but nearly all of it is a little heartbreaking. The first reason to watch this film, above all else, is that for the first time in years, you get to hear Britney's side to the story. Admittedly, she does not go into as much depth as she could do, but it's clearly a difficult time of her life to discuss. She discusses her much-publicised break-ups: first with Justin Timberlake, and then with Kevin Federline. The latter, she discusses as leaving her "absolutely devastated". She explains why she chose to pick up that raser in that LA hairdressing salon and shed her world-famous locks. She even lets us know what it was like to lose to custody of her children. She seems clearly anxious about giving too much away, understandably so, as she is an intensely private person. However, this is almost the appeal of the film. It is not salacious and completely full of gossip and scandal, as that would not reflect the woman who is being portrayed. The biggest shock for my friends who watched the film was not actually the reasons behind her erratic behaviour, but in fact - the reality of the woman who acted them out. In the documentary, you witness Britney go about her day to day life. Most basically, you see her at the MTV awards, at photoshoots, in the studio, dancer auditions and on the set of two music videos. There is clearly a binary division in the film, as half of the clips deal with Britney's career, as she works to put the finishing touches on her album, with the other half dealing with her personal life. In terms of her career, it's interesting to see how much input she has in her own image, and performances. There is a perception that she is a brainless puppet, who merely does what her record label tell her to do. Yet, in For the Record, you witness the creative process first-hand. In charge of her image, her choreography and even creating the concept for the 'Womanizer' video as she sits in her dressing room, it's clear that there is more to Britney Spears that people give her credit for. Indeed, at times it is these career orientated moments which can prove to be the filler in the documentary. However, they really do appeal to hardcore Britney fans, who rarely get to see the woman behind-the-scenes, working on her craft. Although there are moments, as a viewer, when you are bound to feel very uncomfortable. While it's fantastic that her Circus album was such a huge success, there is the distinct impression in the film that she was not ready to be working again. Indeed, her Father manages every aspect of her life in the film, something which is tragic for a woman in her late 20s. He chooses what she eats, is in charge of her money and even confiscates her phone. In the middle of the documentary, we see Britney dissolve to tears as she considers what her life is like today. "Even when you go to jail, there's a time when you know you are going to get out," she explains. "If I wasn't under these restraints... I'd just feel so liberated..." she pauses. "I'm sad." It is a completely heartbreaking moment, and it almost makes you feel guilty for witnessing it. With hundreds of people depending on her for employment and profit, it seems that she is just treated as a product rather than a person. And by watching the film, surely you are just fuelling that greed? However, the film is not all tragic. Indeed, it is punctuated by moments of great humour. Britney mimicking her father and her make-up artist, show a more playful side, as she imitates them with frightening accuracy. We see her dressing up for Halloween and even spending time with her two children, who she clearly adores. It's interesting to see the dichotomy in her life, as aside from when she is dancing, she only ever seems truly content when she is with her two sons. It's heart-warming to see, and is certainly something that you would never experience if you opted to choose one of the unofficial DVD biographies about the star. The DVD of the documentary offers some scenes which were cut from the original MTV airing but disappointingly, no real extras. It's a shame for fans and casual viewers alike, as due to the short running time, it means that it's not a product that you will ever want to spend too much money on. Luckily, it can be found for only a few pounds on Play.com or Amazon, which I suppose compensates for the lack of content. Ultimately, For the Record appeals to both huge fans of Britney, and also the more casual viewer. There's enough about her music and her career (it is very much focused on the present, and there is no monotonous retelling of her past achievements) to satisfy her fans, but also, the candour and honesty about her personal life will satisfy anyone with a curiosity for the world of celebrity. It's not so much a cheerful watch, as in many ways, it paints a tragic portrait of a woman who is held prisoner by her own fame. However, what stops it from being a miserable, pitying experience is Spears herself. Her resolve to be happy, her love for her children and her humour, seem to sustain her, and you can't help but smile as the documentary ends. The interviewer asks her how she copes with her life, and she says with a grin: "I go through life like the karate kid", and lets out a warm laugh.
- - - - - - - - - - In a nutshell - - - - - - - - - - FOR THE RECORD is an MTV documentry, recorded over the course of 60 days, starting 5th September 2008, the day before Britney attended the MTV Video Music Awards [She won 3 awards for work on her 'Blackout' album]. The documenty's main focus is in following Britney as she prepares for her sixth album; In the recording studio [she actually does have an agreeable voice without adding all the vocal effects. She's certainly no Mariah, but she is capable of out-singing a lot of other pop acts], selecting dancers for her music videos, shooting the music videos [for 'Womanizer' and 'Circus]' and making a live appearance at a Madonna concert. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Behind the scenes - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - While it interesting to see how a celebrity puts in their hours of work, almost everyone will watch this hoping for some insight on her devestating mental breakdown... To her credit she does answer every question asked her [including head-shaving, Justin Timberlake and second husband Kevin Federline], however most of her answers are vague, sometimes rambling and they don't really scratch below the surface of the chosen subject. I've watched the DVD a few times now, and can't decide if she's trying to protect the last bit of privacy she has left or if she is still lost. Among the non-answers there are a few that are are clear and quite heartbreaking, like when she talks about living under the conservationship of her father: "There's no excitement, there's no passion...I have really good days, and then I have bad days. Even when you go to jail, you know there's the time when you're gonna get out. But in this situation, it's never ending. It's just like Groundhog Day every day." To be totally honest - being Britney Spears doesn't seem exciting, it seemsempty and sad: Her own house is always swarming with people, all of her 'friends' are people she works with or family members, she is followed everywhere by abusive paparazzi and her Dad even follows her to work. The scene that sticks with me is about half-way through the documentry when Britney is at the 'Womanizer' video shoot; "I'm angry, I'm really angry. I'm horribly angry" she says, whilst everyone there laughs at her. She broadens her clearly fake grin and tiredly sighs "I'm smiling right now because I think it's funny that you are all laughing". Later her eyes well up as she tells the interviewer "When I tell people how I'm feeling it's like they hear me, but they're not really listening. They hear what they want to hear". That really makes me question if she's making music again because she really feels ready to or if people around her are shoving her back into the limelight. All of the media's crazy stories and conspiracy theories about Britney being some sort of prisoner don't seem quite so insane now. - - - - - - - - - - My verdict - - - - - - - - - - This isn't easy viewing, but is something I highly recommend owning; When you're next enviously eyeing up a celebrity's seemingly charmed life in a magazine, you'll consider this and then the lifestyle won't seem so great. - - - - - - - - Bonuses - - - - - - - - The Region 2 release has no bonus features, although the documentry contains eight minutes of extra footage that wasn't shown on the TV broadcast. The US release comes with a bonus CD containing six single remixes; Womanizer" (Kaskade Remix) "Womanizer" (Benny Benassi Extended Remix) "Womanizer" (Junior Club Remix) "Circus" (Diplo Alt Clown Remix) "Circus" (Tom Neville's Ringleader Remix) "Circus" (Villains Remix). - - - - - - - - - Other details - - - - - - - - - RRP: £12.99 Classification: Exempt Studio: Fremantle Home Entertainment