BY CHARLIE FERN
For almost a decade, Lady Gaga has been one of the most famous pop stars in the world and her fans now have a window into her life with her emotional Netflix documentary “Gaga: Five Foot Two.”
The film opens with a shot of Gaga being lifted up to the roof of NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. She is about to start the halftime show of Super Bowl LI. Almost immediately after this, the viewer sees Gaga at her home feeding her dogs. This juxtaposition sets the tone for the film for it delves into her life as a celebrity and a regular human just like everyone else.
Gaga is frank and candid throughout the film. She shares her views on topics ranging
from music producers, from being a woman in a male-dominated field to Madonna and Donald Trump. These revelations are interesting, but not shocking.
Gaga is shown dealing with chronic pain related to her breaking her hip in 2013. During one scene, she is getting massages and going to the doctor’s office to deal with issues related to her hip. There is a lot of crying going on during these scenes in particular. While these scenes provide insight into Lady Gaga’s life, they do come off as slightly overwrought. The chronic pain situation would have a greater impact if there were fewer scenes dealing with it. The film’s more successful moments lie elsewhere.
Much of the film deals with the process of making the 2016 album “Joanne.” Gaga is seen recording songs such as “Million Reasons” and “A-Yo.” Florence Welch also makes an appearance to record the duet “Hey Girl.” The recording scenes are high points in the film. Seeing Lady Gaga’s creative process is a treat, and it is shown just how many elements go into one song. This allows for a greater appreciation of the music.
The most touching scene in the film is when Gaga goes to visit her grandma. They both look through some of Gaga’s late aunt’s belongings. Gaga then plays the title track of her album for her grandma. It is a poignant experience, as the song and album are named after the late aunt.
The film also shows how Gaga reacts to the leaking of “Joanne” before its release. She is so concerned that she makes a trip to Walmart to see how many copies of the album are in stock. She is happy with what she sees, and takes pictures with fans.
Gaga’s promotional activities for the album make an appearance as well. The shoot for the “Perfect Illusion” video is shown along with the fan’s polarizing reactions to it. Also seen are live performances at a Democratic National Convention event and a party for Tony Bennett. Her jazzy rendition of “Bad Romance” at the latter is particularly impressive.
The viewer also gets to witness Gaga’s preparation for the Super Bowl. Everything is shown from the talks about her performing to the minutes before the performance starts. This demonstrates just how much work went into her twelve minute performance.
“Gaga: Five Foot Two” has a lot of standout moments for fans both casual and dedicated. However, it would have been nice to see her life as a pop star explored more. Too much time is spent on the chronic pain issue, causing the film to drag on. But fans should nonetheless eat the film up.
The Flyer gives “Gaga: Five Foot Two” a 7/10.