An intimate portrait of a year in the life of Lady Gaga, this film presents an unguarded glimpse into the superstar’s personal highs and lows, focusing on the creation of her fifth studio album, Joanne, and culminating in her Superbowl performance. It reveals the woman beneath the costume and glamour, the woman struggling with relationship and health issues, the woman on an emotional journey towards peace and self security.
Gaga: Five Foot Two, directed by Emmy-nominated filmmaker Chris Moukarbel (Banksy Does New York) is a humanising look at the extraordinary everyday life of one of the world’s biggest pop stars. At a turning point in her career, Gaga is stripped of much of the bizarre costuming and pageantry on which she has built her empire, as the film delves into family life, and Gaga’s personal battles with injury and illness. There is an implicit examination of the toll that the intense practices of show business has on a person. Gaga negotiates the industry that attempts to pigeonhole her, whilst revealing the physical pain she endures behind and between performances.
“I’m alone…everynight…all these people will leave…and then I’ll be alone…I go from everyone touching me all day and talking at me all day to total silence.”
This documentary has been marketed as far weirder and more fast-paced than it turns out to be. Gaga: Five Foot Two is somewhat underwhelming, as a Gaga documentary builds the expectation of the insane performativity and political inclusivity that Gaga is known for. At the same time, the outlandish spectacle of her work makes Little Monsters and non-fans alike hungry for the truth, wanting the reality beneath the mask, and this documentary delivers on that front. This film takes a step away from her past, as Gaga attempts to settle into the role of woman, and not a girl.
The film’s undulating pace and tone seems to give an affective insight into the intense noise and past of life in show business. Interrupted spasmodically by periods of deafening silence, these moments are a quiet meditation on the humanity beneath the spectacle. Despite being somewhat incoherent in parts, Gaga: Five Foot Two is a moving and intimate portrayal.
I rate this documentary 7/10.
Gaga: Five Foot Two is a Netflix original documentary, and streams exclusively on Netflix from Friday 22nd September.