Gia

1998

Gia

Critics Consensus

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92%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 13

82%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 53,562
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Movie Info

Angelina Jolie (Wallace) has the title role in this biographical drama tracing the tragic rise to fame and death, at age 26, of insecure, self-destructive supermodel Gia Carangi, who grew up in Philadelphia a victim of child abuse, moved to New York to work as a model in 1977, scored big as a top-ranked cover girl under the tutelage of Wilhemina Cooper (Faye Dunaway), and burned brightly, before pills, coke, and heroin turned her life into a junkie hell. Music of the period includes Billy Joel, David Bowie, and the Pretenders. Filmed in NYC and LA, this feature premiered January 31, 1998 on HBO.

Cast

Angelina Jolie
as Gia Marie Carangi
Kylie Travis
as Stephanie
Louis Giambalvo
as Joe Carangi
John Considine
as Bruce Cooper
Scott Cohen
as Mike Mansfield
Edmond Genest
as Francesco
Faye Dunaway
as Wilhelmina Cooper
Nick Spano
as Michael, Gia's Brother
Phillip Simon
as Fashion Store Manager
John-Clay Scott
as Policeman
Antony Sandoval
as John Casablancas
Paul Sandman
as Vogue Assistant No. 2
Michael E. Rodgers
as Red Dress Photographer
Joan Pringle
as Therapist at Rehab
Adina Porter
as Girl at Group Therapy
Sam Pancake
as Francesco Stylist No. 1
Tricia O'Neil
as Vogue Editor
Norman Merrill
as Doctor in AIDS Ward
Allison Mackie
as Red Dress Designer
Shelby Leverington
as Woman at Funeral
Drinda La Lumia
as Booker No. 3
Steve Carson
as Drug Dealer in Alley
Mila Kunis
as Gia (age 11)
Michelle Jonas
as Vogue Assistant No. 1
Tim Hutchinson
as TV Interviewer
Meleney Humphrey
as Booker No. 1
Johnny Green
as Gia's Brother, Joey
Judy Gillet
as Beverly
Scott Genkinger
as Philadelphia Photographer
Guido Foehrweisser
as German Makeup Artist
Vylette Jezel Fagerholm
as Blonde Girl in Philadelphia
Alexander Enberg
as Chris Von Wagenheim
Brian Donovan
as Junkie at Shooting Gallery
Julio Dolce Vita
as Hood No. 3
Lombardo Boyar
as Hood No. 2
Rick Batalla
as Hispanic Stylist Phillipe
Joe Basile
as Disco Doorman Tony
Holly Baker
as Emergency Room Nurse
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Critic Reviews for Gia

All Critics (13) | Fresh (12) | Rotten (1)

Audience Reviews for Gia

  • Sep 15, 2014
    "G-G-G-Gia!" Yeah, watching grass grow on a Chia Pet is cool and all, but with a Gia Pet, you need only to sit back and watch the lips grow! I don't know if Angelina Jolie was great casting for Gia Carangi, but Mila Kunis was decent casting for a young Angelina Jolie, although I can't see Kunis could ever grow lips like these. Now, come on, Carangi and few other women in the history of modeling have had lips these big, and it's not like heroin makes you bloat. Yeah, now that's the way to sell this film, because a young Angelina Jolie going bi in a TV series that was made for HBO partly as a big middle finger to the FCC sounds terribly dull. Well, naturally, it's been cleaned up quite a bit ever since they started running it on Lifetime, but don't worry, because without the nudity, it's still a decent soap opera, probably because the director and score composer went on to make a jazz opera. Considering all my rambling, the idea behind a jazz opera must be more interesting than you'd expect an Angie Jolie-starring, bisexuality and drug-themed HBO film, but don't worry, because for a film showed on Lifetime these days, it is interesting, for all of its shortcomings. The film follows a pseudo-documentary style by incorporating interview footage of performers as Gia Carangi's peers that feels rather expendable, due to an uneven usage of the interview footage, which, by its own right, is disconcerting enough by eliminating a sense subjectivity that takes you out of the drama's intimacy, even though it tries too hard to supplement thematic focus. If nothing else, the unevenly used documentary style glosses over certain material, although it's not as though the film waits for someone to come in and objectively explain the situation so that it has an excuse to pick up the pace, because no matter how much filler leaves the storytelling to drag its feet to runtime of a little over two hours, this film isn't long enough to get all that deep into the nuance of the lead. There's a certain sense of aimlessness deriving from the film's jarringly alternating between repetitious dragging and a certain rushing which is arguably more recurrent than anything in this character study which seems to be missing something, at least in terms of a sense of material, and gives you not much beyond the bare bones of the subject matter, just like so many other TV films. Man, even Terence Blanchard's corny score is distractingly trite, but the conventions don't end there, because as ambitious as this film is as an edgy drama on premium cable, it feels much too much like a TV film, complete with messy pacing that is manufactured to accommodate a channel schedule, and with a superficiality that is often forcibly maintained. Quite frankly, there's hardly any subtlety to Jay McInerney's and Michael Cristofer's, which is sloppy and undercooked enough without contrived characterization and set pieces that beat you over the head with themes regarding a disturbed girl being broken by the modeling industry, and finalize the script as hands-down the biggest issue of the film, even though subtlety issues also stand firm in a directing Cristofer's abuse of the trite, either flashy or bluesy score, and over-exploration of the problematic writing. I don't know if it's reflecting an ambition or a laziness, but the film's sentimentality plagues the final product throughout its course, almost as much as the script's subtlety issues, problematic structure and TV-grade superficiality, which render the final product kind of inconsequential in a lot of ways. The film would have fallen into mediocrity, at best, if it wasn't inspired in a number of ways that are common for TV flicks this high in profile, because as misguided as this drama is, it has distinct dramatic strengths, and some technical strengths. Well, perhaps the only technical aspects worthy of some sort of note is Rodrigo García's cinematography, which, even then, has a certain flatness that takes some getting used to, but proves to be very appealing once you are able to embrace the subtle softness of the lighting, whose shadowy spots all but carry lyricism to their capturing the bleakness of this subject matter handsomely. I reckon García does a much more consistent job of selling this drama than the storytellers, although he couldn't have done it if Michael Cristofer's direction didn't do a decent job of playing up style in the context of substance, getting sentimentally misguided in his overplaying a contrived score and script, but having some moments of subtlety that are unusual for a TV film like this. This is HBO we're talking about here, thus, Cristofer is not held back by boundaries set by commercial breaks and censorship, and although he is held back by TV film sensibilities that stand firm, only with a little more nudity and swearing, he does give this film a certain edge that does justice to edgy subject matter. The story of punk-turned-troubled model Gia Marie Carangi is nothing new for dramatic filmmaking, in terms of theme, focusing on her drug addiction and bisexual affairs, both of which make for a story that is more intriguing than formulaic, with a dramatic depth that is betrayed by flimsy scripting and some misguided spots in direction. It's the performances which really bring life to the humanity of this drama, for just about everyone has a time to shine, whether he/she be Mercedes Ruehl as a loving mother of a troubled woman, or Elizabeth Mitchell as the fearing love of the troubled woman, or Alexander Enberg, Eric Michael Cole, and other caring peers to a troubled woman. It all leads back to the disturbed Carangi, so it should go without saying that most of the material falls on the shoulders of the beautiful Angelina Jolie, who was merely up-and-coming when she took this project, the other side of which broke her out, as well it should, for Jolie is more convincing than the writing when it comes to selling the edgy, glamourless nature of a woman who was touted as glamorous, being charismatic in her roughness, until Carangi becomes lost in her addictions and allows Jolie to become lost in Carangi, gradually projecting more and more intensity, more and more anguish, until anchoring powerful moments in the film through a convincing and emotionally charged portrayal of a beautiful star who must face devastating consequences for her actions and addictions. Jolie is revelatory, and if there is genuine impact in this drama, then it rides on Jolie's back, supported by the worthy subject matter and highlights in other performances, both on and off of the screen, that make the final product fair, for all of its shortcomings. Once the shoot has wrapped, uneven and questionable usage of interview footage take you out of the character drama almost as much as pacing problems, TV film conventions and superficialities, and contrivances, found in unsubtle writing and sentimental direction, make the final product an underwhelming TV drama, brought to life enough by worthy subject matter, handsome cinematography, moving directorial highlights, and strong performances - especially by Angelina Jolie - to make Michael Cristofer's "Gia" a fair and sometimes moving, if superficialized portrait on how far someone of great beauty can sink. 2.5/5 - Fair
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • Jun 10, 2014
    Angelina Jolie has made and directed some good films and then there is this surprising bit of crap that was created through HBO Films. The main character is never someone that we ultimately are drawn to and her ultimate downfall is not something that the audience can get emotionally drawn into.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Aug 30, 2012
    The HBO film Gia is a compelling biopic about Gia Marie Carangi, America's first supermodel. The story follows Gia's rise to stardom, along with her turbulent lifestyle and drug addiction, which ultimately ended with her becoming one of the first celebrities to die from AIDS. Angelina Jolie leads the cast as Gia, and gives an excellent performance. However, the film style is a bit distracting and breaks up some of the momentum. There are also some storytelling issues, and some of the characters are a little underdeveloped. But even with its flaws, Gia is a captivating and provocative film with a fascinating story.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • May 25, 2012
    Well made film on the supermodel Gia Carangi. Well acted by Angelina Jolie, this film is the tragic story of one of America's first supermodels. The film is a good drama film. The cast here are good and they all deliver solid performances. The film could have been a lot better, and I find that there were a few scenes where the material didn't work. However due to the good cast, it makes this film that much more interesting despite the lack of effective material. The film is good for what it is, the performances saves this film from being an utter failure. Like I said, it could have been a stunning film with a great story, but there's just something missing from it to truly make it stand out, and make it a memorable biopic. Considering the life that Gia had, you'd expect something great with this film. There's something missing from the films plot to really make it stand out, and it's a good film, but never anything great. If you're looking for one of Angelina Jolie's better performances, this film is it. For a biopic, Gia is one that could have been a lot better, but in any case, is good to watch. Don't expect anything great with this one. Expect a good film that should have been better. If it wasn't for the cast, I think this film would certainly have failed. This is one of those biopics that should have turned out better than it actually did. Still worth watching for one of Angelina Jolie's better performances.
    Alex r Super Reviewer

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