The Oscar Project Reviews
When I watch a film about an artist, be they a visual artist, musician, actor, director, or writer, I always want to find out more about the creative process they go through in creating their art. Sadly you get little of that in the 2017 film Five Foot Two, focusing on the time in late 2016 and early 2017 when Lady Gaga released a new album, performed at the Democratic National Convention, and landed the biggest gig of the year playing the halftime show at Super Bowl LI.
Billed as a behind the scenes documentary, this film relapses into a familiar view of celebrities as divas who are incredibly out of touch with reality. We move from Gaga at her Malibu home with her mother making dinner, to the palatial studio of her executive producer, Mark Ronson, to the expansive New York City apartment with glorious views overlooking Central Park. The film makes sure to highlight the fact that Gaga can hardly walk outside of her dwellings without a mob of fans and paparazzi following her around.
This constant attention tries to be the focus and she tries to deal with the anxiety of not being good enough (in her own mind) while also dealing with physical ailments that require the constant attention of a squad of personal masseuses. While I'm sure there is some degree of anxiety in her life, as evident by the handful of breakdowns displayed onscreen, the fact that she has a gaggle of handlers around reiterating how amazing she is and how any problem she encounters is somehow someone else's fault makes it hard to truly feel bad for her situation.
Early in the film, Gaga (born Stefani Germanotta) claims that she has come to peace with who she is and doesn't try to be someone other than herself. However, the film itself tells a different story, even if that is the only real narrative to be found. Even in this "behind the scenes" look, we rarely get to see Stefani. When we do get a look at her with disheveled hair and no makeup, the stylists are quick to jump in and start the process of turning Stefani into Gaga.
I really wanted to like this film. I wanted to learn more about how a Lady Gaga song comes to life. I wanted more moments like the heartwarming scene where Gaga plays a new song honoring her aunt Joanne who passed away at the age of 19 to her grandmother (Joanne's mother). If you're a die hard Gaga fan, you've probably already seen the film and loved it. For those looking for a deeper look at the artist you might not know other than a few songs on top 40 radio, you won't find it here.
Gaga: Five Foot Two is streaming now on Netflix.
3 out of 10