This review is brought to you by Kathy Kaiser
HOUSE OF GUCCI – RATED R – 2 hrs. 37 mins.
DIRECTOR: Ridley Scott
WRITERS: Screenplay by Becky Johnston & Roberto Bentivegna, Based on the Book by Gay Forden
STARRING: Adam Driver, Lady Gaga, Jared Leto, Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons, and Salma Hayek
Based on the true story of the rise, and fall of the House of Gucci, and the infamous murder of its heir, Maurizio Gucci (Adam Driver), we find ourselves whisked away to life of fame and fortune that Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga) enjoys, as the daughter of a wealthy Trucking business tycoon, when she meets unpresuming Maurizio Gucci, at a high society party. Falling fast and hard for one another, it isn’t long before Maurizio is asking for Patrizia’s hand from her father Fernando (Vincent Riotta) and explaining to his father Rodolfo (Jeremy Irons) that he has found his one true love! As Rodolfo begs his son to rethink this preposterous marriage at such a young age, Maurizio and Patrizia bask in their love, and their new life together, as Patrizia finds married life rather exciting, as she begins to thrive, making the House of Gucci more than it has ever been before…
Now, as the other Gucci dynasty, including Maurizio’s uncle Aldo (Al Pacino) and Cousin Paolo (Jared Leto) soon find, the other 50% stake holder of their company Maurizio, is out to win it all, as in the Gucci family, blood is not thinker than water, as Maurizio and his wife, make a play for the company, and its entire fortune.
And as the power of being his own man finally begins to consume him, Maurizio moves from being the mild and meek husband Patrizia fell in love with, to being a self-absorbed business tycoon, throwing his weight around to take on the entire Gucci empire single handedly. And as his stature in his own mind grows, it seems that the life he has built with Patrizia, and their girls will now be cast aside as well, when he falls for the beautiful, and much younger Paola Franchi (Camille Cottin).
With contempt in her heart, against the man she has loved for decades now, and with the assistance of Psychic and friend Pina Auriemma (Salma Hayek), it seems that hell is about to rain down upon the House of Gucci, and its pretentious now former owner, if Patrizia and he hired guns have anything to say about it…
I give HOUSE OF GUCCI a rating of 6/10: As I have loved fashion throughout my entire existence, I couldn’t wait for HOUSE OF GUCCI to finally hit the big screen. As the anticipation rose, even when I found out that I was about to embark upon a 2 and ½ hour film, I was still intrigued by the fact that Lady Gaga and Adam Driver were taking on the roles of Maurizio and Patrizia Gucci, who “back in the day” were legendary not only in the fashion world, but in the party scene around the world too. I was even excited to get to the point of transition for Gucci, when designer Tom Ford, brought Gucci back to forefront of fashion, with his new take on what Gucci should be, as I not only remember it happening, but I also longed to be able to have one of his incredible creations adorning my wardrobe too. But it seems that maybe once again I let the anticipation of a film ruin it for me once I got the opportunity to view it, as HOUSE OF GUCCI ended up just missing the mark for me, in more ways than one.
First off, even though I adored the castings that were put in place for this film, I was disappointed by the Italian accents they were all over the place throughout, even from some of the “real Italians”. And the fact that Ridley Scott, the man who has been directing fabulous films now for decades, let this happen, and then didn’t reshoot it, is really a question unto itself. I was also very surprised by how this film takes us deep into the trenches of the relationship between Maurizio and Patrizia for hours on end, literally, but when it comes to the murder-for-hire plot that ensues, we must be out of time to invest too much screen time to this part of the story, as it plays out rather quickly, without too much depth being put into this tragic part of the tale, once it finally arrives. I was also not enamored at all by Adam Driver’s take on Maurizio Gucci, as he never really shows any real depth within his performance, regardless of what stage of life he’s portraying, or even when he’s making love to his wife, which is just tragic to have to sit through again, since I was already exposed to a poor sexual encounter of his on screen, in another Ridley Scott film he starred in this year, The Last Duel. I was also not blown away from Al Pacino’s performance throughout, but then again, he’s not really given much screen time to evolve as Aldo Gucci either, so it may not be all his fault. But with all these issues rising up within this film, there were also a couple of Actors that managed to bring their “A-game” to the big screen for this one too…including a fabulous, and emotionally charged performance by Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, a.k.a Lady Gaga, and another exceptional performance by Jared Leto as well, playing Paolo Gucci. Leto is so good, and so unrecognizable in this role, that if I wouldn’t have been in love with his piercing blue eyes, for so many years, I may not have known at all that it was actually him, playing this role. All-in-all, House of Gucci is remotely entertaining, it just didn’t manage to wow me throughout, like I was so hoping it would. Does Lady Gaga deserve a best Actress nod, and Jared Leto deserve a nod for Best Supporting Actor come Awards season? Absolutely! But as a whole, this film I believe is going to be following in the footsteps of Ridley’s for-mentioned previous 2021 film, The Last Duel, not meeting its perceived potential at the box office, even with its star-studded cast, and true-story premise.