At just 31 years old, Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta is a queen of reinventing herself. Known for glamorous outfits, power pop anthems, and staunch activism, Lady Gaga has already shown the world several versions of herself. From “Just Dance” to her jazz album with Tony Bennett, and now, the “Joanne” era; Gaga has proven herself to be a modern-day trobairitz.
In her latest release, a Netflix documentary by the name of Gaga: Five Foot Two, the audience glimpses at the most stripped (literally) and rawest depiction of her yet. “Five Foot Two” is a nod to to 1920’s tune “Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue” – linked below. So as you read, listen along and think about her choice to title this body of work:
The story follows Gaga’s road to the 2017 Super Bowl performance and everything in between. Additionally, we see her relationship problems, time working on American Horror Story, her writing process, and notably, her struggles with fibromyalgia.
Tits out in her Malibu home, Gaga explains that glam and image just simply aren’t for her right now. Subsequently, the meat dress is long rotten and Joanne, is a real projection of herself. Joanne, which came out in fall 2016, carries weight in ways some her previous works cannot. The album is entitled after her aunt Joanne, an artist, who died at age 19 battling lupus. To treat the lesions on Joanne’s hands, the doctors suggested amputating the young artist’s hands. However, her mother, Lady Gaga’s grandmother, could not make the decision to take away the young artist’s hands. “I am Joanne,” says Gaga, “I am my father’s daughter. That’s what this record is about.”
In the most emotional part of the documentary, Lady Gaga plays her grandmother “Joanne” for the first time.
What’s special about this documentary, is that is truly is an unfiltered image of a usually very filtered celebrity. In many ways, the intent is for the viewer to feel uncomfortable. The audience is meant to see Lady Gaga writhing in pain from fibromyalgia and to see her personas change.
In one scene, Gaga gets a call from a dear friend that the cancer has spread. A few seconds later, Gaga suppresses that in time for an interview with a New York Times music critic. We are meant to see her change from elated as fans crowd on the street, to exhausted the minute she is alone. We are meant to see her rolling in the sand 50 times rehearsing the Perfect Illusion music video.
The viewer is meant to see that the stakes for Gaga, are simply always high.
In case you were wondering, the only poster in my apartment is a blown up action shot from her 2017 Super Bowl performance. Since my youth, I’ve lived in resentment over not being allowed to attend the Monster Ball tour because I was “too young.”
To make matters worse, my sister who DIDN’T EVEN LIKE Lady Gaga at the time went to that concert and had the audacity to call me, on our freaking house phone. Then, I listened to Gaga perform “Alejandro” through the phone, angrily tearing up at the situation. It’s been years but I am FINE, I swear.
Gaga: Five Foot Two is not a romanticized vision of an artist’s pain, à la Lana Del Rey, but rather an insightful look into a powerful woman’s personal and professional dance with herself. Go Netflix it and then promptly message me (or comment below) about it.