State of Alabama vs. Brittany Smith review: Mildly stirring analysis of a deeply flawed system

State of Alabama vs. Brittany Smith is a documentary that focuses on Brittany Smith’s efforts to use Alabama’s Stand Your Ground law to justify killing a man that attacked her in her home. The film is now streaming on Netflix.


Brittany Smith is a former addict who got herself clean and her life stable so that she could meet her children again after losing custody when she fell into meth addiction.

To prepare for her children’s visit, she decided to get a puppy for them and got in touch with Todd Smith, a man she knew from high school. A while after the deal was completed, Brittany received a message from Todd asking to be picked up and housed for the night.

Brittany offered her couch for the night but things went downhill when Todd attacked and allegedly raped her. Brittany managed to call her brother over who carried his firearm with him and Brittany ended up shooting Todd when he attacked her brother.

Brittany was arrested for murder and tried to use the state’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law to defend herself but despite the evidence, the judge ruled that she didn’t prove that lethal force was necessary.

Brittany ended up taking a plea deal to get over the ordeal in an indictment of the judicial system in the country.


The documentary takes place while Brittany is going through the entire process so there is a lot of raw emotion captured. Showing the online reactions of Brittany’s supporters is impactful.

This documentary highlights a very serious issue of prejudice when it comes to the judicial system and how it is unfairly stacked against women and minorities.

Even the fact that her bail was set an obscenely high amount which meant she had to spend 10 months in jail without being charged is another clear issue within the system.

The background score is subtle and complements the film capably.


The film feels slightly rushed which pulls away from the issues that it is trying to highlight. A 40-minute runtime means there isn’t the kind of deep dive one would expect from a documentary.

Overall, it does feel a little toned down despite the subject matter. Listening to the story itself will elicit a response in most people but the film doesn’t do much to elevate the content.


The State of Alabama vs. Brittany Smith gives a detailed account of Brittany’s difficult journey leading up to her incarceration in an emotionally charged film. While the film moves along quite briskly, Brittany’s plight is bound to resonate with the audience.

Brittany Smith is unfortunately part of a long list of women or people of colour who have been victims of the unfair treatment they have faced at the hands of the American judicial system and this film does a good job of depicting that.

State of Alabama vs. Brittany Smith
State of Alabama vs. Brittany Smith review: Mildly stirring analysis of a deeply flawed system 1

Director: Ryan White

Date Created: 2022-11-10 13:30

Editor's Rating:

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