GIA is the tragic true story of America’s first super model Gia Marie Carangi. After growing up in a broken home, Gia (Angelina Jolie) is discovered outside of a night club in Philadelphia when she was only 17-years old. Practically over night, she moved to New York City to pursue a career with top agent Wilhelmina Cooper (Faye Dunaway) who is intrigued by Gia’s no nonsense outlook on life. She’s wild and unpredictable, but there’s something about her that the camera loves.
As her fame grows, Gia begins to take risks. She has no problem posing nude, she begins to dabble in drugs and she even falls into a romantic relationship with her make-up artist Linda (Elizabeth Mitchell). She lands the cover of every magazine and has all the opportunities in the world at her fingertips. Naturally, drugs become a huge part of her life and every friend or co-worker she knows is just another way to get money so she can score her next bag or in some cases, her next needle.
Once she hits rock bottom, Gia decides that it’s time to get sober and checks into rehab. While she’s on the mend and ready to tackle the world again, she is diagnosed with AIDS. Gia dies at the age of 26.
Clearly, this is not the choice for a fun-filled movie night with the family. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Since it was produced by HBO as a mini-series back in 1998, it borderlines as pornography in three different scenes. Let’s just say that the main characters do not have any issues with nudity. On top of that, there’s hard core drug use, the physical and emotional affects of that drug use and a graphic dying scene with Gia as a result of the drug use. GIA is not for the young ones or anybody looking to end the night with a warm fuzzy feeling.
With that said, Angelina Jolie does an amazing job portraying the troubled model. She completely transforms herself into the needy, helpless young girl who crawls into the lap of her “mother figure” agent Wilhelmina. She’s equally engaging in her bag girl persona, but we also see the fear and loneliness behind Jolie’s eyes and vicious pout. The drug scenes were raw and edgy and the rehab scenes were sad and powerful. It is clearly evident why Jolie won both a Screen Actor’s Guild Award and a Golden Globe for her performance.
I understand this was a made for TV movie, but the film seemed a bit rushed. The director committed roughly 10 minutes to Gia’s back story and before we knew it, she was discovered and in New York City. She was such a rebel and hurt young woman, I would have liked that part of the story to be developed a bit more. It was also told as if it was a documentary with interviews of people in her life to help the plot along. That became a bit distracting to me after a while.
Although I completely appreciate Jolie’s dedication to becoming the character of Gia, I think I would have find a 30 minute E! True Hollywood Story just as entertaining.
Video: 1080 HD: The modeling photo shoots were pretty interesting. I did get confused with timing. Sometimes it felt very 70s and other times it was very 80s. Regardless, the clothes and attention to detail with the models was fun to watch.
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1: The audio was inconsistent. I had to turn the TV up to understand what the “interviewees” were saying during the documentary parts and then I’d get blown away with the sound from the next scene.