House of Gucci review: Lady Gaga takes this film to the stratosphere
I’ve been trying for days now to decide exactly when my soul left my body and ascended to heaven during my Gucci House screening. Going through my increasingly wacky notes, it seems to be when Jared Leto, playing the paunchy middle-aged fake son Paolo Gucci, tells his step-cousin Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga – we’ll get to that in a moment. ), with therefore very a lot of pathos, that he “was in a bed with a bowl of gelato cioccolata and very dark thoughts”. If you read this in the voice of an American pasta sauce ad, you did it right.
What is this movie even? An image tweeted since the shooting last March – starring Gaga and her co-star Adam Driver in cable-knit sweaters, him decked out in huge glasses and her in a huge fur hat, standing against a snowy backdrop – ignited a pandemic-crazy Twitter on fire. Then the trailer fell in July, and … well, I mean, just go watch it. It is exquisite.
The movie sold by the trailer is actually a bit flatter and more savage than the real one. Gucci House, which would be an unnecessary and somewhat superficial dud if it weren’t for the glamor, or the craziness, of the performances. Screenwriters Becky Johnston and Roberto Bentivegna crafted the story of the murder of Maurizio Gucci (Driver), based on Sara Gay Forden’s book, as a sort of story of misery and wealth mixed with serious Machiavelli vibrations, but the psychological reality never quite lands. Ridley Scott, who seems to have happily slipped into his “I’m 83, why would not I’m making this movie, ”sat in the director’s chair and directed the daylight out of his cast.
That cast: Gaga, Driver, Leto, plus Jeremy Irons and Al Pacino as Gucci Patriarchs and Salma Hayek as Medium. (It doesn’t matter, but I can’t help but think about it: Hayek is married to François-Henri Pinault, CEO of luxury fashion group Kering, which owns, among other things, Gucci.) Look, when you’re Ridley Scott, you get the cast you want.
As you may have noticed, none of these people (well, okay, half credit to the iconic Italian-Americans Pacino and Gaga) are actually from Italy, despite playing very characters. famous who were. The film is not in Italian; it’s in English, and everyone does a certain degree of accent. The irons and the driver are fine. Gaga goes there (although there is some debate as to whether it actually sounds russian). Leto is absurd. Pacino does tone down the accent a bit, but that doesn’t matter when you’re Al Pacino. They drink espresso and dance in clubs and on the moon around giant estates, arguing over who’s a bummer for the family – basic activities for the wealthy.
Really, Rich people activities would’ve been a decent working title for the film, which never really finds a way to make us care about the characters outside of the people who play them. From the first scene, we know that it is a film on the assassination of Maurizio Gucci, which took place on March 27, 1995, on the steps of his office in Milan. But Gaga plays Patrizia, his wife, and the story is really about her.
And how. Patrizia is a fireball as soon as we meet her, swinging in the parking lot of her family business as the men scream in her direction. She meets Maurizio at a party, by chance, and charms him enough that he’s ready to give up his place in his family’s lucrative fashion business, to the anguish of his actor father Rodolfo Gucci (Irons) , to be with her. Everything is fine, for a while, but Patrizia is fed up with being poor for no reason and works with Maurizio’s uncle, Aldo (Pacino), who runs the business, to bring her beloved husband back to the door. . Fortunately, Aldo’s son Paolo (Leto), whose crazy fashion ideas don’t match Gucci’s image of the older generation, is what Rodolfo calls “a triumph of mediocrity,” and Aldo is more than happy to invest his trust in his nephew. instead of.
Gucci House spans decades, during which Patrizia and Maurizio go through a lot together. Yet despite running for nearly three hours, the film never really captures the motivations or psychology of its characters (with the possible exception of the sad Paolo bag). They are characters in a play, re-enacting a story that has already been told. You can imagine a version of this performed by Ryan Murphy that would be both worse and more readable, emotionally, to audiences.
On the other hand, who cares? Gucci House is probably the funniest comedy and the dumbest tragedy of the year. Everyone nibbles the landscape. (The driver is, in a way, the most boring person in the movie.) People deliver frankly absurd lines; Paolo responds to everything with melodious nonsense, like “Is an elephant a sheet in the jungle?” or “I will finally fly away, like a pigeon!” Aldo arrives to meet his brother Rodolfo and finds him on the back patio, looking into the distance, with the larger camel-colored scarf, presumably cashmere, thrown dramatically around his neck. I couldn’t stop laughing.
And at the center of it all is Patrizia de Gaga, whom Maurizio declares to be Elizabeth Taylor’s lookalike. (You can sort of see her point of view.) She plots, she cries, she makes decisions that Maurizio is too weak to make on his own. She calls a psychic on television and becomes her best friend. She strokes Paolo’s ego and stabs him in the back. Gaga climbs into the shoes of – if not the real Patrizia – a fantastic approximation that smokes like a fireplace, squints her eyes until you expect lasers to fire and turns every scene she appears in into a grand showcase and glorious. His hand gestures alone deserve careful reading. She is Lady Macbeth as a diva, sweetheart and dance queen.
So if the story never landed, why should I care about Gucci? why doesn’t Ridley Scott seem to care about fashion at all, even a little? – it basically doesn’t matter because every new scene is a new chance to watch performers cram ham into a camp sandwich and then have another espresso.
It has become fashionable for both critics and the uninformed to state that they don’t make movies like that anymore. I rarely buy it; usually, if you say so, you just aren’t looking for enough.
But in this case, okay, I buy it. It’s hard to imagine anyone other than Ridley Scott succeeding in getting the budget, cast, and execution time to do a three-ring circus like Gucci House for the big screen, a non-IP adult drama with a built-in fan base or a show loaded with effects to suck audiences in. When he left, I hope in the very distant future, I am worried what kind of film will accompany him.
For now, however, we have at least Gucci House, the kind of movie where a wife can tell her husband “it’s time to get out the wasteAnd means his family, a film with multiple scenes of a bathtub by candlelight, a film in which an entire scene takes place to the sounds of “I’m a Believer” in Italian, where the imperfect is raised to perfection. I left my screening delighted and wanted to see it again immediately. Several times. Long live the cinema.
Gucci House opens in theaters November 24.