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
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.