Gia - Movie
Like the supermodel herself, the 1998 HBO movie Gia, which charts the spectacular early-80's rise and fall of the real-life lesbian supermodel Gia Carangi (played by Angelina Jolie), means different things to different viewers: a rags-to-riches tale, a lesbian love story, commentary on the heartlessness and fear of the first days of the AIDS epidemic, a harrowing look at the ravaging effects of long-term drug abuse, or the story of a little girl who spent her whole life trying to find someone to fill the hole left by her mother's departure.
Based on many of the real-life model's journal entries, the film is shot in a documentary style that includes commentary from various people in Gia's life--photographers, friends, fashion editors, Linda, and her mother Kathleen (played by Mercedes Ruehl).
When the narrative begins, Gia is sporting a punk hairdo and working at her father's diner in Philadelphia, where she is discovered by a photographer and shortly thereafter makes the leap to the big time modeling world in New York--and almost immediately begins to self-destruct as she is drawn into the drug culture that was accompanied the model lifestyle.
Gia meets Linda on the set of her first big shoot, and the two women hit it off immediately despite the fact that Linda has a boyfriend and perceives herself to be very "square," and they end up sleeping together that night. Gia quickly falls in love with Linda, but her mother's departure at an early age has also left her fundamentally needy and unable to be alone. As Linda describes her, Gia is "like a puppy," saying "Love me! Love me! Love me!" all the time.
Linda is not ready to give Gia what she wants in the beginning, however, and by the time she is, it's too late--Gia is already addicted to drugs. Still, they keep trying to make it work, even at the very end when Gia is dying of AIDS.
Jolie's scenes with Mitchell are some of the best in the film, and their chemistry together is excellent. From Gia plaintively asking Linda to stay while standing naked in front of an elevator full of people, to Gia's attempts to steal Linda away from her boyfriend right in front of him, to Linda's ultimatum that Gia must choose between the drugs or their relationship, their scenes are alternately playful, intense, moving, and heartbreaking.