Sunday 13 August 2023

Movie Review: Gia (1998)

Genre: Biographical Drama
Director: Michael Cristofer
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Faye Dunaway, Mercedes Ruehl
Running Time: 126 minutes

Synopsis: In 1977, 17-year-old aspiring model Gia Carangi (Angelina Jolie) moves from Philadelphia to New York City and signs with the modeling agency run by Wilhelmina Cooper (Faye Dunaway). After initially struggling to gain traction, Gia's wild and dark brunette punk look takes off, and she becomes the fashion world's most in-demand model. But she also becomes a heroin addict, jeopardizing her career and complicating relationships with her mother Kathleen (Mercedes Ruehl), friend T.J.(Eric Michael Cole), and lover Linda (Elizabeth Mitchell). 

What Works Well: With Angelina Jolie investing in a stellar performance, the meteoric rise and tragic fall of one of the first fashion supermodels is captured with a brash mix of sex and drugs. Director and co-writer Michael Cristofer aims for an effective pseudo-documentary style and hectic visuals to represent the dizzying razzmatazz of an insatiable industry quick to elevate then consume the next "in" look, and Gia enters the cyclone unprepared for a life of extreme fame and abject loneliness. The narrative remains grounded at the human level through complex interactions with Gia's less-than-helpful mother Kathleen, and her conflicted and caring lover Linda.

What Does Not Work As Well: The running time unnecessarily creeps over the two hour mark, and in the second half the cycle of self-destructive drug use, self-deceptive lies, and ineffective rehabilitations starts to blur. 

Conclusion: The rise is as dazzling as the fall is grim.

All Ace Black Movie Blog reviews are here.

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