Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields – A Documentary on Child Stardom and Sexualization

“Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields,” a two-part documentary directed by Lana Wilson, is set to debut on Hulu on April 3, focusing on the intimate, unflinching look at Brooke Shields’s child stardom. 

Shields reveals that she saw her role in “Pretty Baby” as a real artistic venture, having been exposed to European art films through her mother.

The documentary explores Shields’s childhood fame, her controversial roles, and how she and society grapple with her past.

Exploring Controversial Roles and the Impact on Shields

The documentary’s title is derived from Shields’s breakthrough film, “Pretty Baby,” in which she portrayed a child prostitute at an early-1900s brothel at the age of 11.

This and other roles, such as “The Blue Lagoon,” where Shields appeared mostly nude, have raised questions about the sexualization of children in Hollywood.

While acknowledging the problems with her onscreen portrayal, Shields maintains that her on-set experiences were positive.

Shields reveals that she saw her role in “Pretty Baby” as a real artistic venture, having been exposed to European art films through her mother.

Furthermore, she notes that being on a movie set was the safest place for her emotionally, given her mother’s struggles with alcoholism.

Industry Reflection and the Struggle for Agency

The documentary features interviews with experts like Meenakshi Gigi Durham and Jean Kilbourne, who discuss the broader cultural forces that shaped Shields’s fame, including the sexualization of young girls as a backlash to the 1970s women’s movement.

Friends and fellow actors Laura Linney and Drew Barrymore also share their perspectives on the impact of fame on young minds.

Shields’s experience on talk shows, where she was praised for her beauty and sensuality while also criticized for exhibitionism, is another aspect explored in the documentary.

The actress admits to struggling to find her own voice and not realizing the importance of having agency.

Breaking Free and Becoming a Human Being

Shields broke free from Hollywood by attending college at Princeton, where she found her identity, voice, and confidence.

In the documentary, she emphasizes her transformation from an object to a human being and her determination not to let anyone take away her newfound agency.

In addition to her career, the documentary will also shed light on Shields’s personal experiences, including being sexually assaulted by a powerful Hollywood executive in her 20s.

She shares her story with the hope of helping others feel less alone and encouraging women to speak their truth.

A Thought-Provoking Exploration of Fame and Childhood

“Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields” offers a probing look into the life of a child star, the potential consequences of early fame, and the struggle to maintain agency in a challenging industry.

As the primary voice in the film, Shields provides unique insights into her journey and the challenges she faced.

The documentary encourages viewers to reflect on the complexities of fame and the importance of supporting and protecting young artists in the entertainment industry.

Article In a Snapshot

  • “Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields” documentary focuses on the intimate look at Brooke Shields’s child stardom, exploring her controversial roles and their impact on her life.
  • The film features interviews with experts, friends, and fellow actors discussing the broader cultural forces shaping Shields’s fame, including the sexualization of young girls as a backlash to the 1970s women’s movement.
  • Shields’s struggle to find her own voice and maintain agency in a challenging industry is a key aspect of the documentary.
  • After attending college at Princeton, Shields transformed from an object to a human being, emphasizing her newfound agency.
  • The documentary encourages viewers to reflect on the complexities of fame and the importance of supporting and protecting young artists in the entertainment industry.

Craig Miller

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