Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Gia (1998)

Before her breakout commercial success as Lara Croft, but after her appearance in the delightfully gonzo Hackers (and well after she hoped we'd all forgotten her part in the execrable Cyborg 2), Angelina Jolie picked up her second Golden Globe for her performance as 70s supermodel Gia Carangi.

If you're like me, you had no idea who Gia Carangi was before you heard of this film.  But she was apparently a pretty huge deal in the late 70s fashion world, bursting onto the scene like a thunderbolt, and dominating magazine covers until an out of control heroin addiction led her to crash and burn.  Her career was effectively over by the time she turned 22, and four years later she would become one of the first well-publicised cases of a woman dying of AIDS.

That little bio pretty much spoils the main plot of the film, I guess, but there's obviously a lot more meat to it than that.  Gia's love life gets quite a bit of attention, for instance (in an apparently somewhat fictionalised manner).

So is it worth seeing, now you know Gia's fate?  Well, Jolie's performance is very good; her Golden Globe was well-deserved, I think.  But it is ultimately the only truly notable thing about the film.  We've all seen the 'person who apparently has it all who flames out' story before: history and fiction alike are littered with them.  They can still be very powerful and affecting, of course, but I don't feel the script of this biopic does enough to be considered much better than middling.  It's quite strong in the first hour or so, but to my mind it doesn't handle Gia's decline as well as it does her rise.

Probably worth your time only if you're a huge Jolie fan and don't have a copy of Hackers or Mr and Mrs Smith that you could watch instead.

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