Watch Opinion | The tragic exploitation of Brittany Murphy continues – Google Movie News

Watch Opinion | The tragic exploitation of Brittany Murphy continues – Google Movie News

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It feels prefer it was solely a matter of time earlier than a documentary about Brittany Murphy was launched. In spite of everything, the star of beloved movies like “Clueless” and “Uptown Girls” was simply 32 when she died in 2009 of extreme pneumonia, anemia and “multiple drug intoxication.” And Murphy’s erratic and worrying habits within the years main as much as her demise have impressed numerous tabloid tales and TikTok theories. But whereas HBO Max’s two-part documentary, “What Happened, Brittany Murphy?” makes an attempt to depict its topic in a brand new gentle, it by no means actually succeeds. As a substitute, it treats Murphy as little greater than one other true crime obsession, enjoying up the morbidity of her passing and glamourizing probably the most disturbing parts of her story.

Her demise in December 2009 got here as a shock to many followers, with few realizing the extent of the star’s private struggles.

Like quite a few different It Women of the Nineteen Nineties and the early 2000s (Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, Cameron Diaz), Murphy was the type of stunning, bubbly younger girl whose charisma and expertise, mixed with a high-profile relationship (to Ashton Kutcher) and a profession on the rise, made her the topic of limitless consideration. So when rumors started flying about drug use and erratic habits on set, the general public was obsessed. And when Murphy began showing on pink carpets wanting emaciated after which was fired from the 2011 horror movie “The Caller” after only a few days, the gossip websites pounced. Nonetheless, her demise in December 2009 got here as a shock to many followers, with few realizing the extent of her private struggles.

The truth that she had been married to Simon Monjack, a screenwriter accused of being a con man who’s alleged to have managed practically each side of Murphy’s life, raised loads of eyebrows — particularly after Monjack died, too, simply 5 months later and of comparable uncommon causes. Murphy had clearly been in deep trouble, however who was responsible? Was it Monjack? Her seemingly overbearing mom? The media?

As with many current documentaries which have tried to revisit — and maybe atone for — the best way Hollywood has handled its starlets, there are not often straightforward solutions. However this movie, particularly, fails as a result of it spends the vast majority of its two hours specializing in the thought of Murphy, slightly than the precise particular person. Beneath the path of Cynthia Hill (“A Chef’s Life,” “Private Violence”), the doc doesn’t trouble exploring who its topic was, with few interviews or particulars to present perception into Murphy’s life pre-Monjack. The revelations we do get, like her hammy nature as a child and her unabashed need for stardom, are barely sufficient to whet our appetites.

Even one of many doc’s strongest moments — studying that an agent instructed a younger Murphy she was “huggable, but not f—able” — is over earlier than we will course of what the results of these phrases will need to have been on a girl who would go on to undergo years of disordered consuming.

It’s not that the top of Murphy’s life isn’t worthy of research — particularly within the broader context of how celebrities get, or don’t get, entry to assist and help. And the thriller surrounding Monjack’s potential half in his spouse’s demise is compelling stuff, as are the interviews with figures like his mother and father and ex-wife (whom he reportedly ditched after studying she was pregnant). Collectively, these anecdotes paint an upsetting image of all of the individuals who acquired their hooks in a weak, sick Murphy. However to dedicate the vast majority of the documentary to her husband is pointless and unfair to an actor who had a life and a persona meriting their very own detailed investigation.

The alternatives the movie makes to emphasise the morbidity of Murphy’s demise don’t assist. “What Happened” opens with the 911 name made by Murphy’s mom, Sharon, after she found her daughter’s lifeless physique, and the track performed over every hour’s title sequence is actually referred to as “Die Young.” A handful of supposedly scandalous however actually simply unhappy particulars pop up right here and there, reminiscent of Sharon’s questionable relationship with Monjack (the 2 slept in the identical mattress collectively after Murphy died, in response to the documentary) and the handfuls of prescription drugs Murphy was taking earlier than she died. After which there’s the interview with Perez Hilton, whose merciless, unwavering protection of Murphy throughout her closing years, together with a prediction of her premature demise, ignited a tabloid storm. However even this second feels surprisingly shallow given the burden of the tragedy.

What Hilton and the movie each appear to lack most is honest compassion — for Murphy, for victims of abuse, for all younger girls preyed upon by males who worth cash and energy above all else. To viewers, it’s clear that Monjack is meant to be the villain right here. However what about how we’re meant to view Murphy herself? Folks solely vaguely related to her bemoan her transformation from an effervescent younger girl to a glassy-eyed robotic. However by and huge, Murphy’s life feels irrelevant to “What Happened.” It is a documentary that cares primarily about surprising its viewers and leaving them gossiping, not not like the media protection that will have contributed to her destiny. Finally, you’re left feeling like Murphy has as soon as once more been used as clickbait by these trying to exploit the very topic they declare to be attempting to assist.

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