Lady Gaga documentary showcases singer’s battle with chronic injuries

Beibhínn Thorsch

Credit: Netflix

Lady Gaga has a voice. She has an emotional, stunning singing voice, and an articulate way of communicating that allows her to be not only a role model but also a voice for those without.

The release of her ‘Five Foot Two’ documentary which shadows the making of her album and the run up to her Superbowl half time show performance is an intensely personal look into the pop legend’s life.

Her days are filled with hard work on top of crippling pain and, at the time, the breakdown of her engagement. She says in the documentary that her “threshold for bullshit with men” is gone.

“I had to go into the deepest pain in my life,” Gaga said during an interview in which she was asked about her love life, “I had to go into the part of myself that you don’t want to face.”

The main characteristic of fibromyalgia, the chronic pain Gaga lives with on top of an old hip injury which has never fully left, is pain which can feel like you have pulled a muscle you haven’t even exercised, or a deep stabbing pain with aches around the joints.

Gaga uses cannabis and a long list of medications to help deal with her pain while balancing her high powered performances, and acknowledges how lucky she is to have a whole team of people to care for her. She wonders how other people manage.

It is hard to be left at the end of this documentary with the same opinion of Lady Gaga as before. Whether the story of the making of the song ‘Joanne’ gets to you, or Gaga’s newfound confidence in her musical abilities, or her unwillingness to submit to men in the music industry who have seen her as a lesser being, there is a message that appeals to the core of anyone who watches this documentary.

Gaga deals with loneliness and gives the viewer some touching insights. Articulate as always, Gaga says “This is the third time I’ve had my heart broken like this [referencing the end of her engagement]. I’m alone, Brandon, every night. And all these people will leave… And then I’ll be alone. And then I go from everyone touching me all day and talking at me all day to total silence.”

The more relatable parts of the documentary are Gaga’s close relationship with her family, who supported her through the making of the ‘Joanne’ album and song, which was about a dying family member.  “My family is the most important thing in my life“ Gaga says while previewing the album.

Finally, Gaga speaks about moving forward in her life and becoming an artist besides the one she was when breaking the industry at 22 (she is now 30). “The truth is that I can always bring my past with me, but I can never go back. You’ve got to leave yourself behind.”

Béibhinn Thorsch