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Film / Gia

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She's dressed as though she's in a fairy tale... when her life was anything but.

Gia is a 1998 television biopic about the life and death of model Gia Marie Carangi. The film stars Angelina Jolie in the title role, alongside Faye Dunaway, Mercedes Ruehl and Elizabeth Mitchell, and was directed by Michael Cristofer. It was broadcast on HBO. Jolie and Dunaway both won Golden Globe awards for their roles.

The film follows Gia as she moves to New York City to become a fashion model, immediately catching the attention of powerful agent Wilhelmina Cooper. Gia's attitude and beauty help her rise quickly to the forefront of the modelling industry, but her persistent loneliness drives her to experiment with mood-altering drugs like cocaine. She becomes entangled in a passionate affair with Linda, a make-up artist. However, after a while Linda begins to worry about Gia's drug use, and their relationship starts to fall apart. Failed attempts at reconciliation with Linda and with her mother drive Gia to begin abusing heroin. Although she is eventually able to break her drug habit after much effort, she has already contracted HIV by a needle containing infected blood and dies from complications from AIDS in 1986 at the age of 26.


This film contains examples of:

  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: This is part of Gia's appeal in the fashion business, which was dominated at the time by blond Girl Next Door-types.
  • Biopic
  • Broken Ace/Broken Bird: Gia was a beautiful, talented and charismatic supermodel and something of a trailblazer for other models like herself to follow, namely of those who are brunette and not super-tall. In spite of this, she also was an incredibly lonely, damaged and heartbroken young woman who even over her highly successful career just wanted someone to love and accept her unconditionally and turned to drugs and self-destructive behavior to cope, which ultimately led to tragedy.
  • Butch Lesbian: Not too butch but Gia does sport a short haircut and dresses more androgynous (when she's not modeling), along with some tomboyish mannerisms in comparison to her lover Linda.
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  • Bury Your Gays: The bisexual model Gia dies in her 20's due to complications from drug-related AIDS.
  • Camp Gay: Some minor unnamed photographers, make-up artists, and fashion designers. Being fashion, however, this is probably Truth in Television.
  • Character Title: Gia herself.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Gia herself, and it's Played for Drama.
  • Downer Ending: As it's based on a real person's tragic life.
  • Fairytale Wedding Dress: Modeled in one in media res opening and even does a Bouquet Toss into the audience (albeit with a mink stole instead of an actual bouquet.)
  • Fashion Model: Gia models many clothes in the movie.
  • Fashion Show: Gia attends a few in her work.
  • Faux Documentary: Parts of the film are shot documentary-style, as interviews with people who knew Gia.
  • How We Got Here: One opening of the film focuses on Gia's corpse being prepared for her funeral. Another version opens with a Fashion Show.
  • Hypocrite: The fashion industry. It's not stated outright, but its mantra seems to be, "Drug abuse is fine and dandy as long as it's not too obvious."
  • Jerkass: Wilhelmina's receptionist and most of the people in the fashion business, especially Bruce Cooper and Mike Mansfield.
  • Kick the Dog: Gia's drug dealer rapes her towards the end of the film.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: Gia's lover Linda, who is a makeup artist and much more feminine in comparison with Gia.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: If she weren't a real person, Gia would be a very dark deconstruction. Sure, she's eccentric and wild, but she's also a deeply troubled and lonely person.
  • Mononymous Biopic Title
  • Ms. Fanservice: Gia especially, though Linda also gets naked multiple times. They're shown naked having sex or in the shower, and during Gia's nude photoshoot prior to that. Gia also walks naked outside her apartment and is utterly oblivious to the reactions this gets. Angelina Jolie, everybody, give her a hand.
  • Queer Romance: Gia falls for Linda, with whom she gets involved. Sadly, their relationship falls apart over Gia's drug abuse.
  • Parental Substitute: Wilhelmina became this to Gia, which made her death all the more devastating.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Gia and T.J.
  • Pretty in Mink: The wedding dress Gia modeled had a huge white fox muff acting as a bouquet (it had flowers bundled on it, and she tossed it during the show).
  • Public Exposure: During a photo shoot, all the other models leave in disgust when the photographer tells them to "lose the clothes". Gia is the only one willing to go through with it.
  • Rape as Drama: A very effective example, when Gia is raped by her drug dealer.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Gia as portrayed by Angelina Jolie.
  • Shameless Fanservice Girl: Gia. Her first instinct when Linda leaves her apartment after their night of passion is to run into the hallway to confront her - while still completely naked.
    Gia: Where are you going?
    Linda: You don't have any clothes on.
    Gia: ...Don't change the subject.
  • Take That!: At one point, a group of big-wig fashion industry people are in a meeting being led by someone who is clearly based off of Anna Wintour. Also while looking at photos of various models (which she declares them as "boring", "fat" or even "too dumb"), she then sees a picture of a blonde, smiling model which makes her yell out, "Oh, God! I am so sick of seeing her face!" She is never identified, but good candidates for the woman could be either Christie Brinkley or Cheryl Tiegs.
  • Timeshifted Actor: Gia as a child is played by Mila Kunis.
  • Tragedy: As the standard of a Downer Ending.
  • Tragic AIDS Story: Being about model Gia Marie Carangi, it shows her substance abuse problem and subsequent infection from an HIV-infected needle leading to her death complications from AIDS at the age of 26.


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