House of Gucci boasts a star-studded cast and is out this weekend, with a plot as outrageous (and true!) as its fashion.
Lady Gaga, Adam Driver, Al Pacino and Jared Leto serve us Ridley Scott’s Italian family murder drama in style. Based on a true story (yeah, 100% google it) House of Gucci is an education on how a family squabble can topple an empire. The narrative follows Maurizio Gucci (Adam Driver) marries Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga) over the protests of his father, Rodolpho (Jeremy Irons). As the couple builds a life together, Patrizia inserts herself into the family’s fashion business, pushing out the other Gucci family members by any means possible. Well, this tale is as old as time if you get down into the basics of it. The Gucci story boiled down is a take on the Cinderella fairy tale: The handsome heir in a family of wealth, power, and influence defies his father to marry a loving but low-status girl. But unlike Cinderella’s happily ever after, this is more like “murder, psychics, and betrayal, oh my!” As Patrizia, Lady Gaga delivers an adorable, sexy, smart, and almost uncomfortably relatable character. Adam Driver balances her larger-than-life presence with an understated performance, allowing viewers to understand why the reserved and socially awkward Maurizio is drawn to her. Nearly all of the actors in House of Gucci are American, putting on Italian accents — Gaga and Driver pretty believably, but virtually unrecognizable co-star Jared Leto’s accent was a painful play on overcharacterized Italian accents. He was one vowel away from belting out Mario’s iconic line “Mama Mia,” like a puppet in a badly done children’s play mocking Italians. He’s a caricature so off the wall that it sucks you out of the film, he’s also the comic relief, so we guess there’s that. Al Pacino is incredible. We have nothing to say except, Pacino is a chef’s kiss in every role he embodies.
All of that said, the revelry, excess, and sizzling slams only go so far; listening to men in suits talk shop is enough to make anyone’s mind wander, and at 2 hours and 38 minutes, we felt the drag. The movie has an engaging beginning and a middle that oft times felt muddled. There were narrative driver pieces missing from the story and then a lightspeed ending to wrap things up. We’d have done with less time on the “evil mistress” plot and more on the landscape of the couple and those in their circle as the crime came to be. Sometimes in film telling less of the story is more. The movie needed to be a bit more streamlined in where it was leading us. Could we not have focused instead on the last week of Gucci’s life? Or perhaps the week Patrizia made the decision to hire the hit men? A clearer focus would’ve served the film better. As it stands House of Gucci may have been best off as a short run (4-5 episode) limited series on a premium channel like HBO to deliver the quality of film, with the longer form flexibilty of streaming/tv to tell the story.
Let us know your thoughts on House of Gucci. Watch it at the very least for the style. Also, we’d be remiss not to mention the incredible sex scene between Lady Gaga and Adam Driver. That scene might be one of the best on-screen scenes between a new couple we’ve seen in ages.