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'House of Gucci' is glamorously chaotic

Lady Gaga dazzles as Patrizia Reggiani in Ridley Scott’s latest film

<p>Gaga commands the screen with her spirited and strong-willed demeanor — as expected of her character — gifting viewers with memorable one-liners like “Father, son and house of Gucci” in her trademark accent that closely matches Patrizia’s actual accent.</p>

Gaga commands the screen with her spirited and strong-willed demeanor — as expected of her character — gifting viewers with memorable one-liners like “Father, son and house of Gucci” in her trademark accent that closely matches Patrizia’s actual accent.

“House of Gucci” graced theaters with its long-awaited presence last week, right on time for the Thanksgiving holiday. Given that the film follows the dysfunctional family behind the Italian fashion house of Gucci, its release in the midst of a holiday week full of family gatherings is quite fitting. Trailers dropped by production company Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in July, and October generated considerable buzz for the biographical crime drama.

Singer turned actress Lady Gaga portrays Patrizia Reggiani opposite Adam Driver, who plays Maurizio Gucci — her husband throughout most of the film. Hollywood heavyweights Al Pacino and Jared Leto round out the Gucci family as Aldo Gucci and his son Paolo Gucci, respectively. Salma Hayek also notably portrays Pina Auriemma — the psychic Patrizia befriends and who eventually helps her arrange Maurizio’s murder. 

Ridley Scott — known for films such as “Gladiator” and “The Martian” — directed the film and produced it alongside his wife Giannina Scott. Roberto Bentivegna and Becky Johnston wrote the screenplay based on Sara Gay Forden’s 2001 book “The House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour, and Greed,” which meticulously details the 1995 murder of Maurizio Gucci — heir to the Gucci fashion empire — planned by his estranged wife Patrizia Reggiani.

“House of Gucci” certainly delivers on glamour and madness, yet the story itself is all but lost on viewers. In keeping with the Gucci brand, the film was over the top in every way. It flashes between scenes poorly or not at all strung together to establish, build and eventually tear apart Patrizia and Maurizio’s relationship along with the Gucci brand. For example, a completely unnecessary sex scene between Patrizia and Maurizio alludes to the power dynamic between the pair, but drags on for several minutes, leaving viewers wondering what else those valuable few minutes of screen time could’ve been used for.

Despite the movie’s underdeveloped plot, the cast’s talent runs deep. Gaga commands the screen with her spirited and strong-willed demeanor — as expected of her character — gifting viewers with memorable one-liners like “Father, son and house of Gucci” in her trademark accent that closely matches Patrizia’s actual accent. She masterfully portrays Patrizia’s desperation and descent into madness once Maurizio ends their marriage — evident in her perpetually running mascara and cryptic voicemails for Maurizio. Channeling her real-life pain at feeling left behind and trapped, Gaga definitely gave the role of scorned wife turned murderer her all and thus shines brightest among the cast.

Although a conventional role for him, Pacino puts on a quality performance as company and family head Aldo Gucci. His careful portrayal of the betrayed uncle ultimately makes him the only truly redeemable character when all is said and done. Driver is mediocre in his portrayal of Maurizio — the reluctant and seemingly straight-laced Gucci heir — who is overpowered by his wife Patrizia in every respect, and therefore fades into the background despite his centrality to the movie’s plot. Finally, Leto’s representation of the eccentric Paolo Gucci — son to Aldo Gucci — is downright laughable, mostly due to his general overacting and terrible Italian accent. Of course, this could have been intentional given that Paolo is never taken seriously by his family and even called “my idiot” repeatedly by his father.         

However, the film excels in the finer details. For instance, it could be gleaned from Patrizia consistently taking the driver’s seat when inside a car with Maurizio that she occupies the driver’s seat in their relationship as well. Furthermore, Patrizia’s insistence on being called Patrizia Gucci even during her court sentencing for Maurizio’s murder reinforces her obsession with the brand-name at the movie’s conclusion. Altogether, “It was a name so sweet, so seductive — synonymous with wealth,” as Patrizia said in her unmistakable Italian accent at the film’s beginning, ultimately proving her willingness to kill for it in the end. 

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