Lady Gaga did a massive media tour to promote her fourth studio album, “Joanne,” and spent most of her time telling reporters how the new music was highly personal. At the same time, Gaga and Live Nation Productions were in the process of creating her most intimate project yet. Arriving on Netflix today, “Gaga: Five Foot Two” depicts a raw and unfettered look into the life of one of this generation’s most complicated pop stars.
The film, directed by Chris Moukarbel (“Banksy Does New York”), mainly focuses on the conception, recording, and release of “Joanne.” Gaga talks about how she prefers to do the unexpected with her work and we see her working alongside Amy Winehouse producer Mark Ronson. Gaga describes Ronson, who also recently worked on the Queens of the Stone Ages’ most recent release, as one of the easier male producers to work with and how others have tended to ask her to make things sexier, a frequent criticism she rebuffed by adding her own creative twists to songs and costumes.
Given the star’s expanding roster of talents, the film spans a year that includes many noteworthy experiences including filming “American Horror Story,” her 2017 Super Bowl performance, and even going to a Walmart to purchase her new album. Fans get to witness Gaga perform for Tony Bennet at his 90th birthday gala and see how hordes of Little Monsters gathered when she taped the music video for her single “Perfect Illusion” in the desert.
Unlike most musician documentaries however, “Five Foot Two” really shines when the film showcases the woman behind the larger-than-life character of Lady Gaga. More than anything, the documentary is about Stefani Germanotta and her daily struggles.
Germanotta has spent the last decade shielding herself with the persona of Lady Gaga and, in conjunction with a less produced album, the film exposes a more vulnerable side of the pop star. In one scene, Germanotta is curled up on a couch trying to work through the chronic pain of fibromyalgia. Earlier this month, Gaga announced the cancelation of the European leg of her Joanne world tour due to her chronic pain disorder. Gaga took to Twitter to explain that the new documentary would provide a glimpse into how she has dealt with her pain over the years and hopes the exposure will help others who also suffer from fibromyalgia.
— xoxo, Gaga (@ladygaga) September 12, 2017
The film, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, also dives into Germanotta’s relationship with actor Taylor Kinney. Gaga can be seen in the documentary cooking in her kitchen, lamenting a fight she just got into with her then fiancé. The star rues over how her dedication to her work always seems to get in the way of her personal relationships. Kinney and Germanotta ended their five-year relationship in July of 2016 with rumors swirling that her success was to blame.
While many music documentaries seem to highlight a star’s high points, “Five Foot Two” spends genuine time with a looming figure at her lowest. For an artist who has based a great deal of her career on promoting inclusivity, the documentary exquisitely captures an artist who often feels isolated.
“Gaga: Five Foot Two” is available to stream in all 190 countries in which Netflix is available as of today. Check out the trailer below.