House of Gucci

By: Jolie Featherstone

Ridley Scott’s House of Gucci brings glitz, glam, star power, and seduction to the big screen.  Decadent and grandiose, House of Gucci is chock-full of big hair, big glasses, and even bigger scandals set in the high fashion world of excess in the 1980s and 1990s.

Based on Sarah Gay Forden’s true crime exploration of the fall of the Gucci dynasty, House of Gucci is made with a similar framework to the big budget Miramax crowd-pleasers of the 1990s and early 2000s.  In the case of the Gucci family, truth really has proven to be stranger than fiction.  The film begins with the introduction of Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga), a lively young woman working for her father’s business by day and dancing the night away at lavish parties by night.  During one such night, she meets the elegant Maurizio Gucci (Adam Driver), heir-apparent to the Gucci empire.  As Patrizia gets closer to Maurizio and his family, her ambition projecting them both forward, long-held tensions and rivalries come to the fore.  Soon the Gucci family is embroiled in a spiral of deceit and revenge – and eventually murder.

House of Gucci is decadent to its core: from the stunning fashion, to the chart-topping pop music soundtrack, and, most importantly, the larger-than-life performances.  It’s impossible to take your eyes off Lady Gaga.  She pours all of herself into this role.  Her famously strong voice commands the senses and the screen as the fiery, bold, and strategic Patrizia Reggiani.  She is a force emanating from the screen.  When her character Patrizia begins to feel her empire eroding under her stilettos, you can see ice in her eyes.  You can feel the air in every room being consumed by Patrizia.

Adam Driver is also formidable as Maurizio Gucci.  We watch his transformation from a once mild-mannered young man with dreams of going to law school and no desire to join the family business, to a jaded man resigned to his situation.  Initially he is idealistic and he argues with his traditional and fastidious father (Jeremy Irons).  Over time, he grows to become more similar to his father than expected.

Al Pacino is deviously charming as Uncle Aldo Gucci, the fierce and proud governor of the Gucci empire, if not entirely trustworthy.  Jared Leto is unrecognizable as Aldo’s son Paolo, the woe-begotten son who so desperately yearns for recognition.

I normally wouldn’t discuss this, but I feel that I must address it due to all of the pre-release chatter about the accents in the film.  It does sound like each actor is speaking with a different accent.  However, the accents seem to be done in good faith and it should not be a factor by which anyone discredits the film or the strength of the performances.

The film has a two-hour-and-44-minute runtime which is substantial.  There are a slight few moments where it slows down but, for the most part, the pace moves along well.  However, the editing can be jarring, particularly in the first half where there are a few cuts made at odd moments, making it seem as if the scene was cut abruptly.

House of Gucci is stylish and scandalous.  Lady Gaga steals the show with a towering performance.  Slightly revising Reggiani’s words from the film: Father, Son, and Haus of Gaga.  Ciao!


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