Gaga: Five Foot Two Summary and Analysis {with video}

Lady Gaga announced her fibromyalgia diagnosis by tweeting about her documentary set to air on September 22. What is the documentary about? What does the fibromyalgia community and her fans say about the film? I’ve watched the documentary, so here’s a short summary and an in-depth look at it in my Gaga: Five Foot Two Summary and Analysis.

Gaga: Five Foot Two summary and analysis with video #beingfibromom
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Gaga: Five Foot Two Summary

Lady Gaga’s documentary Gaga:Five Foot Two, produced by Bobby Campbell and directed by Chris Moukarbel, was released on Friday, September 22, 2017 on Netflix.

This release was a few days after the singer tweeted confirmation of her fibromyalgia diagnosis. Click here to read about this announcement and what it means for the fibromyalgia community in full details.

Storyline by IMDb:

“The documentary pulls back the curtain to introduce the woman behind the performer, the costumes, the glitz and the glamour. Off-stage, in the studio, unplugged and at home, audiences get an unguarded glimpse at Gaga through a series of personal highs and lows and the culmination of a year’s emotional journey. From struggles with relationships to health issues, from finding solace in her inner circle to conquering her insecurities, Gaga: Five Foot Two navigates the divide between life as a superstar and life as an everyday woman.”

 

Who is Lady Gaga?

Lady Gaga was born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta to an Italian immigrant family in New York on March 28, 1986 (one day after my birthday!). She is a songwriter, singer, actress, philanthropist, dancer, producer and fashion designer. She has sold millions of records and has become a role model for people of all ages all over the world. To many, she is their idol giving voice to much of the pain shared by her fans.

When she was eleven and attended private school, she was bullied for being more eccentric than others and for being small and a little overweight. Even after being signed onto a label and received the name Gaga in 2006, she was dropped after just three months. This was devastating to her, but only fueled her to try harder, push further, and strengthening her skills. This is an excellent display of the determination she has now. Click here for her full biography.

image is licensed for reuse from Google Images

 

Gaga: Five Foot Two Analysis

The film has received 8.2 out of 10 on IMDb and has been received by viewers in a positive acceptance. While there is some criticism, the documentary is a real insight to what it’s like when living with chronic pain and fibromyalgia.

Note: Some may say this is not a family-friendly movie, however, I’d let my kids watch it with me. Please use your own judgment when viewing the film with your children.

I think this documentary is going to be a good thing for those living with fibromyalgia, their loved ones, and the fibromyalgia community as a whole. For those that watch it for whatever reason – as a fan, fibro thriver, or just out of curiosity – they will be satisfied. The singer opens up and talks with a side that is rarely seen because of all the flash and glamor that is Lady Gaga. She’s funny, genuine, kind-hearted, quick to serve others, sensitive, and compassionate which radiates on screen. It displays and captures all of her in such a beautiful, relatable way although many parts were painful to watch.

image from http://www.christianpost.com/

She states she’s been struggling with body pains and anxiety for some time as well as feeling lonely despite being surrounded by others much of the time. These are classic symptoms of living with fibromyalgia. Like many others, Lady Gaga pushes through the pain when the adrenaline kicks in allowing her to focus on the task at hand in order to get through it. This is known as the push and crash cycle which is damaging to our bodies. For more information about the push/crash cycle, click here.

Throughout the film, she can be seen constantly on the move working on songs, rehearsing, and performing. There’s much that goes into the music business, and this is clearly seen time and again in the film. Lady Gaga speaks with passion and power, and sees the world in a deeper sense. This is seen when she speaks to others and is most prevalent in her song lyrics.

As her fans know, Lady Gaga delivers each and every time at her performances, and they are not, in any way, mediocre. Each and every show is elaborate, detailed, and requires hours of rehearsing. For each performance, she’s not merely standing or sitting, but rather moving about the entire stage. Even when she’s sitting at the piano, she’s moving her entire body with a leg propped on the bench. This can be seen during her performance in New Jersey. After the show, she says that was the first time in a long time she didn’t feel tight pain in her hip and she didn’t feel worried or nervous about it.

More than once during the documentary, I thought about how she is so much more powerful than I gave her credit. Maybe it’s because I see a piece of me in her – moving through the pain, pushing through all of it to continue to do what it is I feel powerful about. Trying to make that connection to others and ease their pain in the ways our talent allows – mine through writing and hers through the arts.

 

Joanne Tour Analysis

As her name suggests, Lady Gaga was named after her father’s sister, Joanne Germanotta. Joanne died in 1974 at the age of 19 due to complications from lupus, and was a devastating blow to their family. While working on her album Joanne  – named in honor of her aunt – Lady Gaga learned much about her family. The songs in Joanne tells stories that was influenced by Gaga’s relationships, and the album quickly made it’s way to the number one slot (her fourth album to be number one on the musical charts).

During the documentary, Lady Gaga visits her grandmother to share a song she wrote about Joanne. While visiting, the singer sifted through Joanne’s drawing and poems. One of the poems talks about wearing masks which is relatable not only to Lady Gaga, but to many of us suffering from invisible illness. 

Lady Gaga posted the following message in regards to her beloved aunt:

 

Preparing for the Super Bowl Halftime Show Analysis

During one scene, the singer is lying on a couch crying from the pain in her jaw (I believe she has TMJ) which extends down into her shoulder and across her face. While receiving a massage to relieve the pain, Lady Gaga says “she’s embarrassed” and speculates how other chronic pain sufferers deal with their pain. She acknowledges the privilege of being able to have someone there whenever she should need help with the pain, and the expresses her sympathy for those that cannot. This speaks volumes to her compassion for others and those suffering like her.

During the same scene, she divulges how she’d like to have kids one time, but worries what they may do to her hips. This worry is expected since she broke her hip just a few short years before that scene was filmed. Pregnancy causes the hips to expand, and Lady Gaga is well aware of that and what that could mean to her.

Another time she is having major pain, she is lying on a couch screaming/crying into a pillow while a therapist stretches out her right leg/hip joint. This was preceding her Super Bowl halftime show in February. The halftime show is not shown in the documentary (disappointing), so I went to YouTube to watch the show. Right about minute 3:16, you can see that she is unable to do a full kick back with her right leg. From that point in the show, it’s noticeable she is favoring that leg (video below).

She worries about others before herself and this is seen in various parts of the film. For example, when rehearsing for the Super Bowl halftime show, she speaks up for the dancers by stating how tired they are. Before the show, she gives a pep talk to the dancers and encourages them to do their best, not just for the show, but for themselves. She also explains to her crew while details are important for a show. This not only shows how she wants them to understand that details are important for a specific reason, but to also make it easier on her. This is also an example of working within your limits (although I think she pushes herself a lot much of the time).

 

What I’d like to see more about

Here are some areas I’d like to hear more about:

  • I’d like to know more about her diet (eating habits) while she’s bustling around with work while struggling with fibromyalgia.
  • In the film she jokes about getting “stoned in grandma’s car” and throughout the film she is seen smoking. I don’t know for sure she is smoking cannabis, but it can be speculated that she is. I wonder if she does this as a way to ease the chronic pain.
  • Her aunt, Joanne, died in 1974 at the age of 19 from lupus. Many people that have lupus also suffer from fibromyalgia which leads me to wonder if there is a family history of fibromyalgia.

 

What it’s not

A few members in the community has stated that the documentary was a disappointment and it only showed a small bit of her being in actual pain. That the documentary was all about her and what she can do, does do, and participates in. Her action and pushing forward is only going to do more harm to those of us living with fibromyalgia. And that, in fact, the word fibromyalgia is not spoken once. You know what? Most of that is right.

Here’s what I have to say to do that: This is NOT a fibromyalgia documentary. Gaga:Five Foot Two is a documentary about Lady Gaga, and the film shows all about her, her music production, and her shows.

At the time of filming, the singer did not know that her suffering was fibromyalgia. That diagnosis came later and was announced via Twitter. Speaking of Twitter, let’s talk about the tweet announcing her fibromyalgia. That was more in response to the question, what was she in pain from in the film? She knew the question would come about her pains or having speculations on what it could be. So, she stated what is going on with her. This is why the word ‘fibromyalgia’ is never spoken in the movie.

As for seeing only a small bit of being in pain – that’s what it looks like with fibromyalgia. You’re not always on the couch, in bed, crying, cringing in pain, etc. There are other parts of our lives that we have. The proportions of pain and living were accurate to me. If you followed me around and filmed me for a week, you wouldn’t always see me in pain. Even when I’m feeling physical or mental anguish, I don’t always display it. There are things I still have to do such as taking care of my family, working, and just living. So, if you watched the film of me being followed for a week, you would maybe see just a few instances of the pain. I know it’s not the same for everyone, but not everyone is the same.

Now that Lady Gaga knows what is the cause of her issues, she has decided to help others. She is well aware that not everyone has the luxury she has (she even states it in the movie), but she still wants to help the cause. This is great news for the fibro community and we should embrace her as she supports us.

 

Viewing Party and Panel Discussion

As a program director and partner with International Support Fibromyalgia Network, I am working with them to host a panel discussion of Gaga: Five Foot Two. What we would like to do is to challenge you to watch the documentary objectively, formulate your own opinion, and write down some of your questions.  You can send these questions in a message to the ISFN to be discussed during Monday’s live video.  If you do not wish to have your name mentioned with your questions please put “Anonymous” at the top of the message.

Join the event on Facebook here.

We would like as many of you that are able to join us Monday at 6pm EST/3pm PST on theInternational Support Fibromyalgia Network Facebook page for a panel discussion. The discussion will be led by some of the fibromyalgia community leaders as well as medical professionals that have worked “hands on” or researched Fibromyalgia, Myofascial Pain Disorder, Lupus, and other chronic pain conditions. 

Please remember to stay on the topic of Lady Gaga’s diagnosis, available treatments, and how the announcement might help or hinder the fibromyalgia and invisible illness communities.  The medical professionals joining us are not with us to provide personal consultations. They will be joining us to discuss many of the same topics.  If you wish to seek a consultation, contact information can be provided upon request.

The video will be published here once the discussion is over.

 

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Gaga: Five Foot Two summary and analysis with video #beingfibromom
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Brandi

I'm Brandi, follower of Christ, wife to an amazing, supportive husband, blessed mother to four sweet children, and a fellow spoonie. Facebook-+-Twitter-+-Instagram

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