By: Taylor Casey
On Sept. 22, Netflix released the raw and eye-opening documentary of legendary pop star Lady Gaga and her life behind the scenes.
The documentary takes place during the production of her most recent album “Joanne”, the release of said album, her brief time on American Horror Story: Roanoke, and the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl half-time show.
In this film, we get an inside look at just who Lady Gaga is. Essentially, there are two women present. There is Lady Gaga, and there is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta. Gaga, writer and performer of Billboard hits like “Poker Face,” “Bad Romance,” and “Born This Way,” is someone committed to giving her all with every performance and being there to make her fans happy. Throughout the documentary it is obvious that with her work, she spends a great deal of time focusing on every little aspect of her songs. Whether it be the guitar riff of one, or a piano chord of another. Day in and day out she is in the studio recording, pausing only to make notes, and getting right back into the process. Mixed in with recording a new album, she also had a role in on the sixth season of American Horror Story as the witch. Along with all of this, she awaited news from her producers about if she would be performing in the 2017 Super Bowl half-time show. All the while she kept her head up high and brought everything to the table. She was not one to fail, nor was she someone that would let anything slip out of her control. A façade that was slowly crumbling.
Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta is Gaga’s birth name. Her middle name is Joanne, after her late aunt who died at the age of 19 due to Lupus. If you keep up to date on everything Lady Gaga, you will know that her most recent album is also called “Joanne”.
One of the main foci of this documentary was Gaga’s dedication and love for her family. Footage is captured of her attending a baptism for one of her relatives, visiting her grandmother, and never traveling anywhere without her father or mother present. She said in the feature that family is the most important thing in her life, and she would never want to do anything that would cause her to lose them. That is partially the reason why she wrote “Joanne.”
Like any person, at her core, Gaga is only human. She suffers the same as any other, if not more. Many times, in the documentary, Gaga is reduced to tears due to stress and pain. Panic attacks come any time she must leave a building where she knows fans and paparazzi will be waiting for her. One of the most powerful montages in the film, was one containing footage from multiple times in Gaga’s career where she was surrounded at all edges. Standing alone, those clips probably seem like nothing, but the way it was clipped together made it feel like a horror movie.
Another struggle that Gaga opens up about is her fight with Fibromyalgia. As many know, she has recently cancelled her current tour until further notice to deal with the constant pain that riddles her entire body. Many days she is bedridden due to the pain because she just cannot move without pain shooting down from her face to her feet. Along with the broken hip surgery she is still recovering from, it is a wonder how she was able to do all the things she did these past few months.
The most important part of this documentary, was how personal Gaga got with her life and how she was dealing with things. Not only does she have to fight from within her own body, but she also must fight the people around her that try to take away her creativity.
One of the things she touched on was how hard it is to be a woman in the music industry. For years, she has had to deal with people writing her into their own script and personal agenda, and doing her best to break away from that. That’s why in the past, she has defined herself with crazy outfits and extreme make-up looks.
The woman we see in this film is Stefani. The woman who wants nothing more than to bring people together with music and do what she is passionate about. The woman who ignores the pain so that she can make her fans happy. The woman who, despite all the criticism she has received over the years, will continue to bring her life into this world on her terms. For anyone who loves Lady Gaga, or is just interested to see the inner workings of a pop star’s life, I recommend this film. It is a reminder that we are all human deep down, despite what walls we have to put up.