‘House of Gucci’ Movie Review: The Lady Gaga Crime Drama Injects Hollywood Into the ‘Father, Son, and House of Gucci’
House of Gucci is a sub-par crime drama with all of the initial indicators of a serious awards contender. Ridley Scott directs a screenplay written by Becky Johnston and Roberto Bentivegna. A-list stars Lady Gaga and Adam Driver lead an impressive cast who shoot for the stars, but audiences are left with an over-the-top drama that’s entertaining albeit deeply flawed.
The story of ‘House of Gucci’
House of Gucci is based on a true story starting in 1978. Patrizia Reggiani (Gaga) originally comes from humble beginnings. She meets Maurizio Gucci (Driver) at a party and quickly pursues him. The couple falls in love and begins planning their future together. However, Maurizio’s father, Rodolfo (Jeremy Irons), has suspicions that she’s only after the family’s fortune and doesn’t approve of her.
Patrizia has unparalleled ambitions for her future. Her actions begin to unravel the powerful family from within. Aldo (Al Pacino) and Paolo Gucci (Jared Leto) aren’t ready to give up their power in the business, but fortune teller Pina Auriemma (Salma Hayek) continues to push Patrizia on her path to a future filled with power and wealth.
‘House of Gucci’ is a marital drama about deceit and greed
House of Gucci starts as a love story. Patrizia works for her family business, while Maurizio is studying to be a lawyer. She pursues him and is determined to get his attention. He’s willing to leave his family fortune to live a happy life with Patrizia. However, the honeymoon phase is short-lived. Patrizia pulls all of the strings possible to get Maurizio back into the family so that she can get her hands on the Gucci fortune.
This marital drama racks up on the tension as the story progresses. Patrizia’s intensity gets progressively more overt, which bleeds into her marriage with Maurizio. He’s at odds between his wife that he’s losing patience with and his family that’s starting to unravel. The drama’s stakes eventually evolve from marital distress to criminal intent based on real life.
House of Gucci’s themes say a lot about social class. Patrizia is an Italian socialite who so desperately wants to be a part of the highest social class possible. However, Johnston and Bentivegna’s screenplay places clues such as Patrizia’s attempt to discuss art that draws the lines of social class. Her desire for materialism outweighs anything else in her life, which drives the story’s twists and turns.
The pros and cons of a Hollywood adaptation
Scott’s House of Gucci benefits from the grandeur of a Hollywood production, such as its flashy technical qualities. Janty Yates’ costume design might not necessarily be the most literal, but it’s visually gorgeous. Dariusz Wolski’s cinematography is a bit muted, as it pulls a lot of the color from the picture. However, some bright colors from the costumes pop.
Unfortunately, House of Gucci also suffers from being a part of the Hollywood machine. It’s very over-the-top. The accents are particularly shaky. Gaga digs deep in a powerhouse performance, but her accent sounds more vaguely Russian than it does Italian. Leto delivers a particularly bad performance with an accent that’s more fitting in an audition reel for Luigi for Super Mario Bros.
There isn’t a dull moment of runtime here and the marital drama at the story’s core is consistently engaging. However, House of Gucci is pure excess at the expense of its own storytelling. Scott’s direction fully owns the overindulgence, but these characters are caricatures more than they feel like real people. House of Gucci is constantly cranked up to a 10 for its full 157-minute runtime, giving no space for peaks and valleys in its storytelling.