Directed by: Ridley Scott
Premise: Based on true events. Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga) marries Maurizio Gucci (Adam Driver) and enters into the family fashion empire. Patrizia instigates a struggle for control of the company.
What Works: House of Gucci is a family melodrama and it has an appeal similar to that of trashy reality television programs such as Keeping Up with the Kardashians and the Real Housewives series. This is the tale of a wealthy but dysfunctional family full of colorful but skullduggerous characters and the pleasure of the movie is the contrast between the wealth and prestige of the Gucci’s brand and the tackiness of their family. The film is led by Lady Gaga and Adam Driver as Patrizia Reggiani and Maurizio Gucci. Although Lady Gaga is certainly vampy in her role, Patrizia and Maurizio are the straight couple at the center of a crazy family. The rise and fall of their marriage is dramatized credibly and this gives House of Gucci a relatable dramatic core. Lady Gaga and Adam Driver are surrounded by wacky performances from Al Pacino as Aldo Gucci and Jared Leto as Paolo Gucci and Salma Hayek as Pina Auriemma. These performances are arch and the film is funny in a sardonic and cringe-inducing way. Comedy often holds its characters up to ridicule and that is certainly the case in House of Gucci. These people are ridiculous and corrupt and the film has a good time at their expense.
What Doesn’t: House of Gucci suffers from a disconnect between the performances and the filmmaking style. Much of the movie is shot with a cool color palate in a grainy visual style that is in keeping with many of Ridley Scott’s other pictures. But the performances don’t quite match the look of the movie. Jared Leto’s performance in particular stands out. He’s very funny but he’s also cartoonish; Leto seems like he’s in a different movie. House of Gucci also has some trouble with pacing. A number of scenes, and especially the sex scenes, don’t serve a dramatic purpose and the movie lingers on irrelevant or redundant action while skimming through more critical events. The end is especially rushed. As the family relationships disintegrate, matters take a sudden violent turn. This isn’t set up very well and the aftermath is just grazed over.
Bottom Line: House of Gucci is very entertaining. Not everything in it quite comes together and the narrative gets wobbly in the end but the film has a vampy and kitschy appeal that makes it fun.
Episode: #881 (December 5, 2021)