Petite in size, but mighty in talent, NYU alum Lady Gaga displays her life and career in the new Netflix documentary, “Gaga: Five Foot Two,” premiering this Friday. Documenting the events surrounding the release of her fifth studio album, “Joanne,” and her accompanying, present-day world tour, “Five Foot Two” intimately details the singer’s private life as never seen before.
The film, directed by documentarian Chris Moukarbel, premiered earlier this month at Toronto International Film Festival. Dominating headlines for its transparency, cinema verite-style filmmaking, “Five Foot Two” reveals Gaga at her most vulnerable, documenting her chronic pain, tumultuous relationship with love and fame and that notorious feud with Madonna.
“Five Foot Two” opens at a hectic resurgence in Gaga’s career, with the release of “Joanne,” filming of “A Star Is Born” and “American Horror Story: Roanoke,” tedious preparation for her Super Bowl LI halftime show and 58-date “Joanne” World Tour.
As Gaga’s career hits its highest notes, her personal life hits its lowest. The success of her 2016 single “Million Reasons” comes at the expense of her five-year relationship with fiance Taylor Kinney — a recurring theme in her career, according to Gaga.
“My threshold for men’s bullshit doesn’t even exist,” the singer said in the documentary. “I sell 30 million records, I lose Luc. I make a movie, I lose Taylor.”
The former, Luc Carl, is the “cool Nebraska guy” behind her 2011 chart-topping single, “You and I.”
Also at its lowest is Gaga’s declining health. Responsible for the delay of recent albums like “Artpop” and “Joanne” — and, most recently, the Monday postponement of her 2017 tour — Gaga’s chronic pain and fibromyalgia date back to 2013, when the singer broke her hip while promoting “Born This Way.”
It was at this time in her life when her career took an equally brutal blow with both “Artpop” and “Joanne” underperforming critically and commercially. But in “Five Foot Two” Gaga is not worried about sales or charts. She writes music for her Little Monsters, and most importantly, her family.
“[They] are the most important thing in my life,” Gaga said, who wrote “Joanne” for her father and grandma in memory of her eponymous late aunt.
A later scene shows Gaga playing the title track for her family with not a dry eye in the room. These are the moments when Gaga is most human, rummaging through old family photos — evidence that even the Queen of Pop, at one point, had braces.
“If I kept that gap, I’d have even more problems with Madonna,” Gaga said.
“Five Foot Two” is the first time Gaga has directly addressed her “feud” with Madonna, unconcerned with the singer’s “reductive” slam in a 2012 ABC News interview, but rather the way in which Madge delivered it.
“She wouldn’t look me in the eye and tell me I’m reductive,” Gaga said. “I’m Italian and from New York… if you’ve got a problem with someone, you say it to their face.”
Similar in gusto to Madonna’s own 1991 documentary “Truth or Dare,” “Gaga: Five Foot Two” premieres worldwide Friday, Sept. 22, streaming exclusively on Netflix.
Email Ryan Mikel at [email protected].