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A Great Film - Wonderful Acting - Good Storytelling
This is it folks - a genuine "breakout performance". We don't get them often enough so we should pay attention when we do.
WARNING ::: This review reveals some plot points !
"Gia", a film for HBO, stars Angelina Jolie, Faye Dunaway, Elizabeth Mitchell and Mercedes Ruehl.
This film is the life-story of Gia Carangi, one of the first "supermodels". How big a star/model was Gia? Well, Cindy Crawford was dubbed the "young Gia" and the "next Gia" - that's how famous she was.
Unfortunately, besides being the "face" of the day in the modelling world, she was also fairly famous for her drug addiction and ultimate fall from grace.
If you want a more indepth depiction of Gia's life - there are a couple of books available. The best being "Thing of Beauty: The Tragedy of Supermodel Gia".
Back to the film.
Angelina Jolie BECOMES Gia in every sense of the word. Her performance is one of the best portrayals of real people in years. She is completely and utter believable. She captures what is surely the essense of Gia. She brings a desparate wanting to the character that you can feel.
Elizabeth Mitchell ( recently of "ER" fame ) co-stars and really provides an excellent touch-stone for Gia's tortured existance.
There's nothing pretty about this film - it shows the whole story, the drugs, the parties, the sex, the pain and the suffering. It depicts, with little filter, the USING of Gia and her decent into her fate.
It's no surprise that Angelina won a Golden Globe for this amazing performance. It's no surprise that she was nominated for an Emmy either. You're not able to take your eyes off her. As a matter of fact, this is a much awarded film - including a best actress award for Angelina Jolie at the LA Outfest.
Faye Dunaway is mainly here for star power - almost as if they weren't sure Angelina Jolie could pull it off. She's okay here, but we all know that Faye has done some amazing work and here, she sort of phones it in.
Mercedes Ruehl plays Gia's mother and she does a good job. She's a little over the top but you suspect it's an accurate portrayal.
For the Angelina Jolie fan - it's a MUST SEE, MUST OWN film. For others, it really is worth the time and money.
You don't often get a chance to see a young star make an amazing film like this. You'll see small tales of "Lisa" from her Academy Award winning performance in "Girl, Interupted" in Gia, but mostly you'll see an INCREDIBLE performance by Angelina Jolie. Really remarkable.
FYI : There is an UNRATED version available on VHS that is currently not available on DVD. The UNRATED version contains more explict scenes ( specifically the shower sequence is longer ).
In all, a great film. Well written, directed and acted. A real gem. Thank you HBO.
All The Best, turtlex
The best Angelina Jolie movie . . . You have to see this!
A true story, starring Angelina Jolie as Gia Marie Curangi (just call her Gia), who was one of the first American women who died from the AIDS virus.
This was filmed documentary style, which surprised me, although not too much of the documentary scenes interrupt the film. It does get annoying when this person is talking about Gia but who doesn't actually appear in Gia's life until later in the film, so you don't have a clue who they are.
Of course, Angelina Jolie stars as Gia, throwing herself so much into the role that you forget where to draw the line between Angelina and Gia. Angelina almost became Gia, and it's hard to understand why exactly this film isn't better known. Forget Tomb Raider, forget Girl, Interrupted, this should have been THE film of Angelina's career. Why it wasn't, is beyond me. The story is a stunning portrayal of a young girl thrown in at the deep end, and not knowing what to do.
Alongside Angelina, Faye Dunaway plays a small, but very much needed role in this. She stars as Gia's agent, and also her mentor. Gia will phone her in the middle of the night to talk, and when she dies, Gia is left alone and lost. Thus begins her downward spiral into the fatal world of drugs.
By the back cover of the DVD, you know Gia's character dies, so you're expecting that. What you don't expect is how drawn out it is, but how fast the film goes. At just under 2 hours long, it was over before I knew it. Once she's discovered as having AIDS, the film quickly progresses into a drugs/AIDS story, and its horrifying. The end scenes of Angelina show how great an actress she is, and just what drugs can do to you.
There is a lot of nudity in this film. But it's done very well - or as well as it can be, when there are almost full frontal shots, but from far away. You would think this would turn you off the film, but it really attributes to what the film is. Angelina seems to have no qualms about her body and flaunted it to the max in this. She also flaunted her (small) collection of tattoos, but no Billy Bob scrawled across her upper arm, as this was before he came on the scene.
Angelina is one of the most beautiful actresses in Hollywood at the moment. She's not your classic beauty - as Gia says in the film, "a woman isn't a woman unless she's blonde". But Angelina is beautiful; there's no doubt about it. She's one of these lucky women who look good without any makeup - not that I'm jealous of course!
Gia's character almost seemed schizophrenic at some points, and this could have been because of the drugs, but she's also very insecure about her various relationships. It was hard to see her change from a happy, smiley young girl, to an angry, crying woman, throwing stuff around.
I've never heard of Gia before this, but now I'm pleased I have this movie, and I can watch it whenever I want to. She was only 26 when she died, which is horrifying, considering how much she did in her short life. And she started modelling when she was 17, and started taking drugs soon after. But the people in the modelling world didn't seem to care that one of their finest models was doing drugs, as shown in the movie.
HIV can take a while to develop into AIDS, but the doctors said in the film, that it could have been from sharing a needle. You see very graphically the first time Gia injects herself, whereas before she was just sniffing. You don't see her injecting again after this, which made me think this was when she got HIV then.
It's quite scary as the film goes on, before you realise there is anything wrong with her, because you notice her hair getting greyer and greyer, and bags appearing under her eyes.
The very start, when you see Gia getting makeup put on her, is a bit freaky, but I won't explain why, you have to watch the end, as the scenes get repeated.
All in all, a great film, and definitely re-watchable. It will shock you to the core and one of Angelina's best performances yet.
Gia is a knockout, daring film. It tells the true story of the rise and fall of 80's supermodel Gia Carrangi. Many reviewers have said they never heard of Gia until the movie. In the cruel fashion world, Gia was forgotten as fast as she became famous. Not one person from the fashion industry attended her funeral. The man who wrote the book on which this film was based also coined the term 'fashionista' for his book. The word has since become a staple in the English language.
Angelina Jolie was made for this role; she deserved the awards and recognition she received for it. If this film had been made for theaters rather than HBO, she should have won an Oscar.
In Gia, Gia/Jolie is the sun, and all the other characters revolve around her. From her inauspicious beginnings in New York City to her photo shoots all over the world, Gia desperately seeks that which she was denied as a child - love. The tragedy is that once she finally finds love, Gia is so scarred emotionally and from drugs, that she is unable to accept it. Mercedes Ruel gives a masterful, subtle performance as Gia's self-centered mother who abandoned her daughter when she was 11.
The drugs, glamor, and glitz of the 80's fashion world are portrayed in both gritty and glamorous fashion. One of the most striking scenes is when Gia is dressed for a photo shoot as a geisha in a red dress. This scene is so riveting and well done I watched it a dozen times. She is standing in a gritty alley with red paper lanterns hanging over the concrete. The whole scene is surreal, and is a great portrayal of Gia's life and of the 80's.
Jolie keeps nothing inside for this performance. She is naked, both physically and emotionally. And the jazz soundtrack is captivating and mesmerizing. In fact, I am seeking to purchase just the soundtrack.
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