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Our Opinion of Crossroads Hasn’t Changed, Our Feelings About Britney Spears Have | Features

February 15, 2024 - Movies

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Last year, Spears came back in a major way. She published her memoir, The Woman in Me, which was a frank, honest account of her life, including discussing the abortion she’d had while dating Timberlake. The grown-up she’d longed to be while making “Crossroads” was evident on the page. (Speaking of the film, in the book, Spears admits that she tried Method acting to play Lucy, writing, “Some people do Method acting, but they’re usually aware of the fact that they’re doing it. But I didn’t have any separation at all. … That was pretty much the beginning and end of my acting career, and I was relieved. I imagine there are people in the acting field who have dealt with something like that, where they had trouble separating themselves from a character.”)

As part of the memoir’s release, fans were treated to a surprise: After being hard to track down for years, “Crossroads” was released in select theaters for a two-day special event that October. Davis had fruitlessly attempted to bring the film back to the world, but as she explained in a Q&A after one of the 2023 screenings, all it took “was one call from Britney. She wanted it re-released to promote her new book.” Why did Spears care so much about a movie that had left her disenfranchised about acting? “Clearly, this means something to her because she wanted this to be released with her book,” Davis offered. “I think she wants people to look back at her work and see it in a different way.”

I can’t in good conscience recommend you check out “Crossroads” on Netflix — although, at 94 minutes, it’s far shorter than far worse films such as “Argylle” — but although the movie hasn’t changed, it’s significantly different in 2024 than it was in 2002. Watching it now, we see a Britney Spears who’s so fresh-faced and hopeful, not aware of the sadness that’s coming. What is indisputably hokey or corny about her performance is, in light of her later travails, touched with a bit of poignance. She doesn’t seem so much like a bad actress as just someone who’s young and naive. There are worse things in the world.

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