Father, Son, & House Of Gucci
Father, Son, & House Of Gucci
Ciao! Over Thanksgiving I had the opportunity to “join the family” on a wild ride of fashion, betrayal, sex, and — of course — murder at the opening night of one of the years most anticipated films, House Of Gucci, directed by the legendary Ridley Scott. Along with a legendary director, it features an all-star cast: Lady Gaga, Adam Driver, Salma Hayek, Jared Leto, Jeremy Irons, and Al Pacino. While the film may have fallen short of greatness, Lady Gaga embodies “Lady Gucci” and reaches near perfection within the madness as Patrizia Reggiani.
House Of Gucci is based on the rise and fall of the Gucci family that takes place spanning the 1970s to late 1990s in the nearly 3 hour film. It began with the lavish luxuries offered by the elite of Milan to the court room that hosted Italy’s “trial of the century.”
“I want to see where this story goes,” Gaga tells Driver at the start of the film. This embarks us on the doomed romance between the girl who wanted everything, Patrizia, and the man who had everything, Maurizio; however, once you want too much of the Gucci cake – you’re doomed.
The first half of the film is the entertaining Italian campiness we all came to expect from the trailers for this film. We witness the dorky and awkward Maurizio being entrapped by the charming Patrizia. We see the drama within the Gucci family: the wedding that caused Maurizio’s father to abandon him from the Gucci estate. All these events lead to the beginning of the end of this seemingly perfect love story of the rich.
Lady Gaga’s transformation for the film made me simply forget it was even her as I was watching. She’s an unapologetic firecracker who won’t let the world of the business “man” squash her own ambitions and dreams seen with the now iconic line: “Our name sweetie.”
Lady Gaga – “House Of Gucci” (2021)
The star power of Lady Gaga is undeniable; she’s simply what transforms this mess into one that is beautiful. This is the problem with the second half of the film. Once Patrizia and Maurizio get divorced, the film takes a turn. It focuses on Maurizio, the business, and his new lover, all while Patrizia fades into the background until the assassination.
From this standpoint, it makes the second half of the film feel much longer than the twisted fairytale that’s showcased within the first half. At this point, the story becomes hard to follow because it includes a lot of information about the Gucci business itself. If you aren’t familiar with business terms, it’s simply unnecessary and perplexing to follow.
Unlike many critics who have criticized Jared Leto’s role as Paolo Gucci, son of Aldo Gucci, he was my second favorite performance after Gaga in the film. Many have described Leto’s role as over the top and even going as far as deeming his portrayal as offensive to Italians.
In my opinion, I felt actual empathy for Paolo in the film, a starving artist who just wants to be taken seriously by his family who view him as an incompetent clown undeserving of the legendary Gucci name. He is also given false hope by Patrizia who uses his desperation to prove himself as a means to rob him of his share of Gucci. Leto’s “over-the-topness” offers the perfect comedic relief in the largely serious film.
While in my opinion the legendary cast of this film all put on amazing performances, the problems of the film all stem from the directorial direction taken from Scott. More specifically from the script, editing, and pacing of the entirety of the film. There’s many sudden time jumps throughout the three decades of the film that sometimes leaves you wondering, “How did we get here?”
With the release of the full script to the public that was written by Becky Johnston and Roberto Bentivegna, some of the scenes — such as Patrizia discovering Maurizio’s affair with his long-time friend — seem watered down and over-edited from the extremely dramatic script.
Lady Gaga & Salma Hayek – “House Of Gucci” (2021)
Ridley Scott also doesn’t utilize the character of Pina, played by Salma Hayek, to the full extent. I mean she’s a television psychic-clairvoyant who helps Patrizia plan the murder of one of the richest men in the fashion world, and her presence is understated. In real life, the two women were best friends and while that relationship is discovered — specifically in the scene they’re taking the mud bath together — I wanted more of the dynamic between them. Gaga and Hayek’s mutual adoration and chemistry is undeniable together on screen, but it’s something that isn’t fully utilized and is sadly a missed opportunity.
The very end of the film about the actual assassination of Maurizio Gucci, planned by Patrizia, seems very rushed. In what seemed to be a mere 20 minutes at most, we saw the quick bribe to hire the hitmen, Maurizio getting shot on the front steps of his office, and ending the film with the short glimpse of the court case after Patrizia Regianni was caught.
Lady Gaga’s amazing acting in this sequence just leaves you dying for more. Rather than shifting the second half of the film towards the business aspect, it should’ve continued its focus on Patrizia. This also could’ve been helped if Ridley Scott kept in the narration throughout the entire movie by Patrizia that was originally planned, which for some odd reason he deemed “unnecessary.”
Adam Driver, Jared Leto, & Lady Gaga – “House Of Gucci” (2021)
It’s easy to see that the role of the publicly deemed Italian “Black Widow,” Patrizia Regianni was perfectly made for Lady Gaga as showcased within her utter physical and emotional transformation into a killer. But it’s unfortunate that director Ridley Scott kept this film from reaching a perfect runway strut. The film would’ve been wholly amazing if it focused more specifically on Patrizia and Maurizio, rather than unfortunately straying away to the business itself. While those who may have expected the unapologetic camp-fest showcased in the trailer may be disappointed, the film is still a must-see story of murder, madness, glamour, greed, and Gaga.