Lady Gaga’s new Netflix documentary Five Foot Two is a surprisingly personal insight into one of the biggest popstar’s on the planet.
While the platform is filled with similar popstar vehicles like Katy Perry: Part Of Me and One Direction: This Is Us, Five Foot Two is a bleaker film which follows Lady Gaga when success is far from its peak after the disappointment of 2013’s Artpop.
Charting the recording of her latest album Joanne up until her performance for the Super Bowl Halftime Show, here’s everything we learnt about Gaga from the Netflix documentary.
Lady Gaga wants Madonna to tell her she’s a ‘piece of sh*t’
In a moment teased in the show’s trailer, Lady Gaga addresses her ongoing feud with Madonna, stating how she’s ready to literally kiss and make-up.
Speaking on the film, Lady Gaga said: ‘‘The thing with me and Madonna is, I admired her always and I still admire her, no matter what she might think of me.’
‘The only thing that really bothers me about her is that I’m Italian and from New York, you know, so if I’ve got a problem with somebody I’m going to f**king tell it to your face.
‘But no matter how much respect I have for her as a performer, I could never wrap my head around the fact that she wouldn’t look me in the eye and tell me that I was reductive or whatever. I saw it on f**king TV.
‘Telling me you think I’m a piece of sh*t through the media is like a guy passing me a note through his friend, “my buddy thinks you’re hot, f**k you, where’s your buddy throwing me up against the wall and kissing me?”
‘I just want Madonna to f**king push me up against the wall and kiss me and tell me I’m a piece of sh*t.’
Lady Gaga’s absurd performances stemmed from pressures to be ‘sexy’
In another illuminating rant, Gaga opened up about how her reputation for outlandish performances emerged from producers (who go unnamed) pushing to fit her into the ‘sexy’ mould.
Speaking about her past producers in comparison to Joanne’s Mark Ronson, Gaga said: ‘When producers unlike Mark [Ronson] start to act like, “you’d be nothing without me.” For women especially, those men have so much power that they can have women in a way no other men can.
‘Whatever they want, whenever they want. The cocaine, the money, the champagne, the girls, the hottest girls you’ve ever seen.
‘And then I walk in the room and it’s like eight times out of ten I’m put in that category, and they expect from me what those girls have to offer, and that’s not what I have to offer in any way. I’m not a receptacle for your pain.
‘The methodology behind what I’ve done is, when they wanted me to be sexier, when they wanted me to be pop, I always put some f**king absurd spin on it which made me feel like I was still in control.
‘So if I’m going to be sexy on VMA’s and sing about the paparazzi, I’m going to do it while bleeding to death and reminding you what fame did to Marilyn Monroe.’
Gaga has an adorable friendship with Mark Ronson
Producer Mark Ronson makes frequent appearances throughout Five Foot Two during the recording of Joanne; forming a friendship with Gaga which gradually seems to represent something more significant.
After frequent visits to his studio, including an incident where Gaga accidentally crashes into his car, Ronson’s departure after completing his work causes her to breakdown in tears. It’s reaction which certainly gives the impression Mark played a more crucial role than he realised during this turbulent period, possibly acting as a reliable rock to Gaga who encouraged her personal style.
It fuels a fire within her too, realising how she may have a hard sell to fans with the new album, she remarks: ‘‘I’m going to fight like f**king hell for them to love this.’
Gaga is bored of being glamorous and ‘shocking’
She might have become synonymous with extravagant fashion statements, but an early meeting discussing her Super Bowl appearance reveals how she’s all too aware of her reputation – leading to the decision to go against expectation of ‘meat dresses’ and ‘unicorns’ for something which isn’t so geared for headline grabs.
While her Half Time Show was still fuelled with striking outfits, it reinforces the reoccurring theme throughout Five Foot Two of Gaga wanting to strip back and divert from her overblown past – even if executives may have encouraged a more glitzy approach in the end.
Her suffering with fibromyalgia isn’t a minor illness
Gaga’s recent postponing of her European tour may have been met harshly by disheartened fans, but Five Foot Two shows the full extent of the star’s ongoing struggles with the chronic pain condition, fibromyalgia.
One scene where she’s being jabbed with needles as doctor’s attempt to figure out the cause of the problem is particularly bleak, with Gaga showing more concern over the fact her new album had been leaked ahead of its release as medical professionals swarm around.
The entirety of the documentary is weirdly exhausting, both in showing Gaga’s swinging moods and how taxing the popstar lifestyle can be; bouncing from fan adulation, spilling your soul on record to the intense physical pains she’s suffering throughout from constant touring.
Gaga suffers from severe bouts of loneliness
Along with physical pain, there’s some pretty heavy emotional scars under the Gaga persona, with one segment seeing her painfully break down following her split from fiance Taylor Kinney.
‘It’s a sad day when I’m doing the Super Bowl and I can’t help but realise that when I sold 10 million records, I lost Matt. I sold 30 million, I lost Luke. I get the movie, I lose Taylor, it’s like a turnover. This is the third time I’ve had my heart broken like this,’ Gaga says.
‘I’m alone every night. All these people will leave. They will leave and I’ll be alone. And I go from everyone touching me all day, and talking to me all day, to total silence.’
She’s occasionally a cranky perfectionist
If you’re wondering how someone suffering from both physical and emotional trauma keeps the Gaga ship sailing, we also get to see the popstar’s firm hand when it comes to executing a performance.
During rehearsals for her Super Bowl show, Gaga can be seen getting particularly irate after not being told of certain changes to her outfit, explaining how even the linen on her jacket can affect the transition and momentum of her performance.
While comically minor, it’s also understandable as she relays how one wrong moment could easily define the show (with a nod to the Janet Jackson boob slip in 2004) and undercut the enormity of the effort involved.
She was pretty anxious about the direction of Joanne
Joanne saw Gaga swap dance-pop for stripped back country, which, while failing to replicate the mainstream success of The Fame Monster and Born This Way, represented a hit with critics who applauded her most personal album to date.
This transition however certainly worried Gaga, as seen during a section while she’s filming the music video for lead single Perfect Illusion.
Gaga asks one of her crew members as she’s wearing t-shirt and jeans: ’Do you think some of my older fans are going to be disappointed that I’m not dressed up?
‘It’s not about me being out front with my hair blowing in the wind with some high fashion on, not that I don’t love that.’
It’s a rare flicker of doubt, with the closing shots on the music video section of the documentary being layered with the mixed verdicts the single garnered from fans and critics alike.
The documentary is in honour of best friend Sonja Durham
Five Foot Two shows a heart-wrenching meeting at the Super Bowl between Lady Gaga and her best friend Sonja Durham, who sadly died in May this year following a battle with breast cancer.
They were more than friends however, with Durham acting as Gaga’s assistant and executive director on the Haus Of Gaga, which helps create concepts and ideas for her concerts and music videos.
The entire film is dedicated to Durham during the end credits, with her fleeting appearance being one of Five Foot Two’s most authentically touching moments. The tragic circumstances of her situation also goes by unexplained, leaving fans to piece together its own significance.
By: Adam Starkey
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