Lady Gaga’s Joanne era officially began with the release of “Perfect Illusion” on September 9, 2016—almost a year ago to the day. Gaga: Five Foot Two chronicles the majority of that year, kicking off in the recording studio and concluding with Gaga’s jaw-dropping Super Bowl performance in February.
And it turns out that nearly a full decade in the spotlight can turn you into something of a philosopher—between recording sessions, public appearances, appointments and even one baptism, Lady Gaga leaves us with some words of wisdom that we won’t soon forget. Here are just a few of the highlights
A couple minutes in to the documentary, Gaga matter-of-factly tells the camera that she no longer has a “threshold” for guys’ bullshit. A few scenes later, she admits that a lot of male music producers treat female performers as if they’d be nothing without the knowledge and expertise of a man. Of course, Gaga has the perfect response—“I’m not a receptacle for your pain.” Can I get that tattooed somewhere, please?
Even though Gaga’s had to deal with a variety of physical health issues over the past few years, she’s not afraid of getting older. In fact, she’s straight-up embracing it. When asked about the difference between Artpop Gaga and Joanne Gaga, she explains simply that “I’m a woman struggling now, instead of a girl.” She also admits that she really wants to “become an old rock star lady” someday. Honestly, a 65-year-old Gaga in pumps and winged eyeliner is something we can’t wait to see.
Having sympathy for a celebrity can be hard, especially when that celebrity is as rich, famous and beloved as Lady Gaga. But that old cliché about celebs being “just like us” is sometimes sort of true. In Five Foot Two, we see Gaga at her highest highs (performing on stage in front of thousands of people) and her lowest lows (lying on the couch in intense physical pain). Gaga acknowledges that she’s lucky to have enough money and a strong enough support system to get through difficult times, but she’s also not afraid to openly discuss her struggles with mental, physical and emotional health.
Joanne received a fair amount of backlash from fans and critics alike for straying away from the glam and glitz that turned Lady Gaga into a household name. But Gaga is nothing if not a free spirit, something she points out repeatedly in the film. In one scene, Gaga explains that whenever her producers wanted her to be more sexy or more poppy, she’d put her own spin on whatever she was doing to maintain a sense of control—i.e. using the radio-friendly “Paparazzi” to remind her fans that fame destroyed the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Anna Nicole Smith.
Near the end of the film, Gaga reveals that she used to be scared of letting her fans see the “real her” because she wasn’t ready to embrace the “real her.” Now, she’s clearly not afraid to defy expectations and make decisions that satisfy her, and her only. “I want to do the opposite of what people think I’m going to do,” she explains during a Super Bowl halftime show meeting. In other words: no thrones, no meat dresses, and no shock for the sake of shock. Instead, Gaga stripped it down and, unsurprisingly, absolutely killed it.