Lady Gaga shares hardships on Netflix

By Marco Cadena


A new Netflix documentary captures the life behind the glitz and glamour of pop superstar Lady Gaga.

Directed by Chris Moukarbel, “Gaga: Five Foot Two” gives fans unfiltered behind-the-scenes access into the life of the musician as she records her latest album, deals with chronic pain and prepares for her 2017 Super Bowl halftime performance.

With a running time of an hour and 40 minutes, the documentary encapsulates the “Bad Romance” singer in her natural habitat – where performance, art and fashion meet. This time however, the public was able to witness for the first time and in detail her intense suffering due to chronic physical pain.

“Gaga: Five Foot Two” exemplarily contrasts the musician’s struggles and successes by showcasing the benefits of immeasurable fame and the unceasing pain caused by fibromyalgia. Moukarbel’s cinéma vérité documentary serves as the superstar’s unwritten personal journal as it includes intense and revealing moments that often give Lady Gaga a down-to-earth appearance.

The documentary illustrates the icon’s passionate creative process as she worked on her fifth studio album, “Joanne.” Apart from trips to the recording studio and hangouts with producer Mark Ronson and singer Florence Welch, the diva showcased her perfectionist work ethic by always aiming for quality material.

As her most personal album yet, “Joanne,” titled after her late aunt who died of lupus in 1974, guided the singer’s journey for approval from her fans and family alike. One of the most touching scenes features Gaga playing the title track, “Joanne,” for her grandmother hoping she would support the singer’s latest artistic vision.

Apart from the chronic pain and lack of approval, the documentary dives into Gaga’s most vulnerable moments of the last year as she not only dealt with her friend Sonja Durham’s cancer battle but also with the breakup from ex-fiancé Taylor Kinney. The singer revealed how every major breakup in her life is always tied to a major accomplishment in her career.

“I can’t help but realize that when I sold 10 million records I lost Matt. I sold 30 million and lost Luc. I did a movie and lost Taylor. It’s like a turnover,” the singer said.

Lady Gaga’s hardships peaked as Moukarbel exposed the singer’s visits to the medic. A pivotal segment featured Gaga getting her makeup done while receiving treatment at the doctor’s office right before an interview. Moments like these exhibited the singer’s determination and willingness to carry on.

Interestingly enough, a week before the release of the documentary, Lady Gaga announced that because of her condition, she had to postpone the European leg of her “Joanne World Tour” until early 2018.

“Gaga: Five Foot Two” also highlights the singer’s bond with her family, friends and work team as well as her connection with her fans. Moukarbel’s work stresses the diva’s ability to multitask as well as her likeability through her raw talent and overall sweet demeanor.

The film features exclusive footage of Lady Gaga discussing her first car wreck, infamous rivalry with Madonna, and her meltdown on the set of “American Horror Story: Roanoke.” Rehearsals at NRG Stadium in Houston prior to her Super Bowl show, never-before-seen live performances, unedited interactions with the media and fans as well as a trip to Walmart are also captured.

Moukarbel’s stylistic cinematography goes hand-in-hand with the icon’s evolving lifestyle. From camera angles, to color tones and sequences, the visuals compress the overarching themes of boldness, glamour and reality.

The musical choices, the production and editing work in harmony with Moukarbel’s vision of telling a story that until now seemed impossible – that of a superstar living under the spotlight 24/7.

“Gaga: Five Foot Two” is a pleasing taste of Lady Gaga’s reality that is set to be enjoyed not only by fans but also by the general public. The film is real, emotional and empowering as it unmasks the icon that for many years hid under pop anthems, alter egos and countless misunderstood fashion choices – for example, the meat dress.

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