A lot is being said about Ridley Scott’s glitzy biopic House of Gucci while it’s barely in movie theaters – and there are lots of questions. How campy can Hollywood outdo itself? Are Jared Leto and Adam Driver even attempting to sound Italian? Is Lady Gaga trying to come for Patty Duke’s and Faye Dunaway’s title as having the most cartoony performance in film history? Will Ridley Scott direct just about anything?
Well, for everyone else actually interested in the movie, fans of all the actors or those who just like watching eye candy on screen: I’ve got a polarizing bag for you. House of Gucci is already getting the definition of mixed reviews from critics, but the marketing and press tour still seems to be grabbing enough people’s attention.
Set back and forth between Italy and New York from 1978 to 1995, we follow the marriage of Maurizio Gucci (Driver) and Patrizia Reggiani (Gaga) as well as the rise of Maurizio’s family’s fashion brand. Working-class Patrizia always had fairytale-esque dreams of fortune and glamour, while young heir Maurizio doesn’t mind at all living modestly away from his prestigious family. When the two become a couple, tension runs high in the Gucci estate as Rodolfo (Jeremy Irons) thinks it’s embarrassing his son has married below their class. At the same time, Maurizio’s uncle Aldo (Al Pacino) and cousin Paolo (Jared Leto) feel they need to bring Maurizio in to the Gucci business to make a comeback in the industry.
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Salma Hayek co-stars as psychic and Patrizia’s confidant Pina Auriemma, and Reeve Carney appears as fashion designer Tom Ford. After viewing House of Gucci myself, I can see why the historical drama has been getting such a divisive response. Yes, Gaga is milking the extravagant, tempestuous wife role for all she can, and Driver — while decent — does have an inconsistent dialect throughout the feature. Leto’s casting feels unnecessary, while Irons and Pacino are clearly having fun on the big budget production.
But that said, I still found House of Gucci enjoyable for what it was. Maybe it’s because I’m a sucker for mid-to-late 20th century pop culture, or that I like most of the actors billed. Or the fact that despite his generation of male directors being regularly accused of popularizing the male gaze, Scott himself has very rarely, glaringly sexualized women on film, including in House of Gucci. It’s also nice that he usually makes an effort to collaborate with women behind the scenes; such as here with co-screenwriter Becky Johnson, who used Sara Gay Forden’s 2001 book also titled The House of Gucci as the basis for the script.
Though the story drags a bit in the 3rd act, House of Gucci might be an early holiday treat for avid fashion and movie fans.
Have you seen House of Gucci yet, or do you plan to? Let us know in the comments!
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