The Father, the Son and the House of Gucci



Of this year’s films, none may come quite as close to the glitz and glamor as director Ridley Scott’s “House of Gucci.” With a star-studded lineup of actors, the famous Italian family that has been at the forefront of fashion for decades has finally gotten the Hollywood treatment. Clocking in at two hours and 38 minutes, there is no shortage of entertainment in this depiction of Gucci’s complicated family history. 

“House of Gucci” is based off of the novel “The House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour, and Greed” by Sara Gay Forden and in turn, the rise of the Gucci family during the 1970s. In the film, Gaga portrays Patrizia Reggiani, the daughter of a hardworking businessman who falls in love with Maurizio Gucci, the unassuming heir to the Gucci brand who is played by Adam Driver. The couple slowly rises in their shareholding of the company, eventually making decisions that cause rifts within the family. While the plot is focused on both their love story and the larger-than-life dynasty, it is ironically a story that is anything but putting family first. 

Aside from the abundant trailers of the past few months, this film might not otherwise have garnered the attention it did without its spotlight performer, Lady Gaga. Her debut acting gig began with the film “A Star is Born” alongside Bradley Cooper, and while it could be argued that her success was in part due to her phenomenal vocals, the same cannot be applied to “House of Gucci.” This time around, the Grammy-winning singer could only lend her acting skills to the film, and she did not disappoint. 

There were few moments when Gaga was left off-screen, allowing the audience to hear her months of method acting pay off. For a year and a half, Gaga embodied Reggiani’s character, the latter nine months of which were spent speaking exclusively in an Italian accent. Her intense dedication to the role has subsequently raised questions about the nature of this preparation. In a recent interview with Stephen Colbert, Gaga compares the experience of growing accustomed to the accent with her singing career, expressing that she hoped “to speak naturally to the actor[s on set] as opposed to playing an instrument that I don’t know.” It is no wonder then how the singer captures Reggiani’s determination to become a greater part of the Gucci family with ease.

In addition to Gaga and Driver’s performance, supporting actors such as Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons and Jared Leto who play Aldo Gucci, Rodolfo Gucci and Paolo Gucci respectively are not to be forgotten. While the banter between Pacino and Irons’s characters throughout the film was notable for the pure compatibility of the actors, Leto’s performance did not hold up to the rest of the cast. Nearly unrecognizable with the heavy makeup and prosthetics required to bring Paolo Gucci to life, Leto’s character was comical for all the wrong reasons. His jester-like behavior dampens the cohesiveness of the film’s stars, resulting in a poorly executed attempt at comedic relief. It is hard to look past the act unfortunately, even with a plethora of talent outside of Leto. 

If not for its performances, “House of Gucci” should be noted for its elaborately designed costumes. This may come as no surprise given the subject of the film, but there are plenty of memorable outfits donned by each actor. Even with a new outfit in nearly every scene, who could forget Reggiani’s eye-catching red one-piece at the ski loft or her breathtaking wedding dress? While many of the pieces were inspired by photographs of Reggiani, costume designer Janty Yates told the New York Times that she “delved into [Gaga]’s own personal fashion archive, received loans from houses like Alaïa and Valentino and had a tailor with five seamstresses on call to make looks for [Gaga], too.”

With a name like Gucci attached to its title, it is hard not to expect near perfection. Although it certainly does not deliver the best from a brand name, its quality is far from that of the cheap knockoff handbags that Reggiani so adamantly despises. “House of Gucci” will have you hooked on its blindingly bright cast, but a closer look will prove that all the glitters is not gold. 

“House of Gucci” released on Nov. 24, 2021 and is now playing in theaters nationwide.