A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The docuseries offers a tabloid-like discussion about what happened to Brittany Murphy, but doesn't reveal a lot new about it. Family, friendship, dysfunctional relationships, swindles, etc. are all themes.
Positive Role Models
Brittany Murphy is characterized as once being a "non-Hollywood," sweet, bubbly actress who fell prey to industry pressures and the control of her husband, Simon Monjack, who's described as being a liar, drug pusher, a scammer, and creepy. Brittany's mother Sharon is presented as someone who was also under Monjack's influence.
The majority of documentary participants are White. One person interviewed is Black. Simon Monjack was British. One person self-identifies as LGBTQ+ on camera.
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Violence & Scariness
The main theme throughout the series is mysterious death. Some of the speculated reasons behind Brittany Murphy's demise are related to being domestically abused and being poisoned. Simon Monjack's death is also suspicious, and rumors about both being killed by the government are discussed. Eating disorders are discussed. One social media influencer talks about how he was so hateful toward Murphy.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some movie scenes featured have scantily dressed young women in the background. Pregnancy, difficult sexual relationships, and the secret existence of a spouse's children from other relationships is discussed. Very strong sexualized images of Brittany Murphy (no nudity) are featured.
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Words like "damn," goddamn," "s--t," and "f--k" are audible in interviews and in movie scenes.
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Products & Purchases
Lots of scenes from movies and videos featuring Brittany Murphy featured throughout. Local Los Angeles-area venues are shown. Gucci, Chanel, Polo, and other logos are visible or referenced. Instagram videos are highlighted, and the logo is visible. All of this is offered in context, but the Apple products visible in some scenes are not.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Being under the influence and drug abusing and overdosing is a major theme. Prescription vials are visible. Hard alcohol, wine, champagne, cigars, and cigarettes are visible (and sometimes consumed) in movie scenes, reenactments, and archive footage.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that What Happened, Brittany Murphy? is a docuseries that discusses the life and death of the young actress, and the role her husband had in it. It contains mature subject matter, including conversations about dysfunctional relationships, not acknowledging biological children, scamming women out of money, drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders, and potential murder. There's some cursing, and smoking and drinking is sometimes visible. It features lots of film scenes, and logos for various blogs, Instagram videos, and Apple products. References to high-end brands like Gucci and Chanel are frequent. Viewers sensitive to flashing lights are urged caution when watching.
Is It Any Good?
The docuseries offers a tabloid-like exposé of what the late Brittany Murphy's life was like and how she died, while openly vilifying her now-deceased husband. Interviews with officials associated with the case give some limited credibility to the overall production, and conversations with industry players like Clueless writer-director Amy Herckerling, actor-director Kathy Najimy, weighing in on the late actor's negotiation of Hollywood culture and expectations. But much of what's offered is sensationalized rumor and speculation thanks to footage of, and interviews with, social media influencers, and bloggers like Perez Hilton featured throughout. Despite few tidbits of new information, What Happened, Brittany Murphy? mostly exploits the scandal, but without the glamorous mystique that commonly surrounds the deaths of young female actors.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.