Gia [1998]

Director: Michael Cristofer
Stars: Angelina Jolie, Faye Dunaway, Elizabeth Mitchell, Mercedes Ruehl, Eric Michael Cole
Genre: Biography, Drama
Rating: R (Restricted)
Runtime: 120 minutes

There's a reason why Cindy Crawford was dubbed "Baby Gia" when she first hit the modeling scene. Indeed, Crawford, now the world's best-known supermodel, greatly resembled model Gia Carangi, who went from high school to the cover of British Vogue in less than two years. Carangi appeared on many more covers of Vogue (French, British, Italian, and American) and Cosmopolitan before dying of complications from AIDs (she was an IV heroin user) in 1986. Now most people recognize Carangi's name from this powerful HBO film that stars Golden Globe-winner Angelina Jolie, who comes by her talent honestly. Jolie is the daughter of veteran actor Jon Voight, and her own training as a model serves her well--she has the moves. Throughout, she's heartbreaking--as no doubt the real Carangi was--effective, and stunning. With good source material (Stephen Fried's A Thing of Beauty: The Tragedy of Supermodel Gia), Jolie's stunning performance, and strong directing by Michael Cristofer, the movie goes beyond the merely sensational. The script was cowritten by Cristofer and novelist Jay McInerney, whose Bright Lights, Big City covers similar territory. As a cautionary tale, Gia works. But to watch Jolie in her character's tragic self-destruction is utterly compelling. --N.F. Mendoza

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