A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
There's an element of cautionary tale about the way in which the fashion industry uses models as commodities and the potential dangers of addiction.
Positive Role Models
Gia often behaves in a carefree and irresponsible manner, and shows a destructive desire to be loved. She drinks, smokes, takes drugs, and steals on occasion, though this behavior is enabled and sometimes encouraged by those around her. Many of those working within the fashion industry are seen to be greedy and manipulative, putting money ahead of Gia's well-being and doing whatever it takes to keep her working at the cost of her mental and physical health. Her mother sometimes offers care and support, but also reinforces the importance of Gia's beauty and success above all else. Girlfriend Linda is the only character to show unconditional love and true concern about Gia's addiction and happiness.
Set mostly within the fashion industry, the majority of characters are slim, attractive, able-bodied, and White. There is some LGBTQ+ representation, with the main character in a same-sex relationship for much of the film, which is portrayed as strong and positive, though hidden from some people in the outside world. The intimate same-sex scenes are often in soft focus with music widely associated with pornographic films, which could make them feel exploitative.
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Violence & Scariness
Verbal aggression is shown within romantic relationships and there is passing mention of domestic violence. Characters are pushed against the wall, throw objects in rage, kick through a glass window, and slash another's hand with a switchblade. A violent attack involves punching and slapping resulting in blood on the face, a bruised eye, and hospitalization. A funeral scene shows a dead body in a casket. There is a close-up of a needle going into an arm during drug misuse and later there is a close-up of an infected wound. Dangerous driving results in arrest. A character faints and there are scenes in hospitals and mention of AIDS-related illness with sores on skin and hair falling out as health deteriorates. Blood is shown in a hospital bed and there is reference to flesh falling off.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
There is mention of sex and sleeping around. Nudity is shown and sex is portrayed, including touching and kissing of naked bodies and oral sex. Half-naked characters kiss and touch in a club.
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Language includes "f---ing," "whore," "f--k," "s--t," "bitch," "bulls--t," "pissed," and "a--hole," as well as "goddammit," "tramp," "hell," and "slag." Models are referred to as "dumb" and "fat," and spoken about as meat such as "sirloin."
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Products & Purchases
A character says that fashion is advertising and advertising is money. Some brands are seen on-screen, including Vogue and Coco-Cola.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters smoke cigarettes on a number of occasions. Heroin, cocaine, crack, and poppers are taken, with scenes involving "blow" being taken directly from someone's naked torso, a close-up of heroin being injected, and reference made to "chasing the dragon." Characters drink alcohol to excess, including spirits and champagne. Intoxication is shown. A character enters rehab and there are scenes of drug withdrawal that involve pain, shivers, and crying. Using Nembutal is encouraged to aid sleep and Methadone is taken as part of addiction treatment. Drug deals are shown on-screen.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Gia is a hard-hitting made-for-TV drama based on the life of U.S. supermodel Gia Carangi and has adult themes, drug use, addiction, strong language, violence, and sex. Starring Angelina Jolie as Gia, the movie takes inspiration from Gia's own journal and the words of those who knew her to tell the story of her childhood, rise to fame, drug addiction, and death from AIDS-related complications. There is frequent drug misuse and alcohol consumption, and scenes of intoxication and rehab. Strong language includes "f--k," "s--t," and "bitch." A violent attack leaves a character hospitalized with a bruised eye and blood on the face, and there are close-up shots of injury and heroin injection. Female nudity is shown and sex is portrayed on-screen on a number of occasions. The film also includes difficult family dynamics, including aggressive behavior, divorce, and estrangement, as well as troubling aspects of the fashion industry and the way in which models are treated. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
A film about a woman's meteoric rise to fame, made shortly before Jolie's own career went stratospheric, this is a widely overlooked production that shows the incredible breadth of the actor's talent. In Gia, Jolie flows expertly between damaged innocent, confident rebel, desperate addict, and lost soul. Before eventually bringing great emotional depth to her final scenes of fading life. Though a dramatized version of the supermodel's life, characters talking directly to camera in interview settings and excerpts from Gia's diary lend the film a documentary feel in places that serves to remind viewers that this tragedy was real. And it very much plays like a tragedy -- tough going in places but with enough energy and intensity to propel it forward toward the inevitable end.
Unsteady camerawork and lingering close-ups on Jolie's frenetic features reflect Gia's mental state and tell the story in a stylish way. A kind of soft-core lens on some of the intimate same-sex scenes feels unnecessary and borderline sleazy in places. But despite these misgivings, overall the film hits hard, is perfectly cast, and smoothly structured to tell the cautionary tale of a fascinating figure.
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.