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Father, son and ‘House of Gucci’

| Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Emma Kirner | The Observer

Exploding with extravagance and chaos, Ridley Scott’s new film “House of Gucci” uncovers the treacherous and oddly operatic tale of the Gucci family’s downfall, complete with backstabbing betrayal, furious family feuds and spectacular scandal. The movie manages to push aside the red-and-green-striped leather and the golden, billion-dollar trademark to expose the Gucci dynasty as a ruthless, yet strangely sympathetic, Italian family that ended up tearing themselves and their legacy apart. At times, the film is utterly ridiculous, but I also believe it to be a highly accomplished and greatly intoxicating drama about greed and glory.

Lady Gaga leads the pack as the cunning and ambitious Patrizia Reggiani, a middle-class social climber who claws her way to the top of the heap after marrying into the Gucci name and claiming it as her own. All eyes were on Gaga as she stepped into this demanding role, and she has proven herself as an actress that can effectively portray both the doe-eyed young girl craving love as well as the manipulative businesswoman with a hunger for fortune. Her Patrizia is a mixture of innocence and power, vicious and vulnerable at the same time. While Gaga’s fame as a singer makes her a surprising point of interest for movie-goers, it is the raw talent and the fervor shining through her glowing eyes that makes her truly unforgettable in her fierce embodiment of such a complex character.

Adam Driver is an actor with incredible range, and his portrayal of Maurizio is equally stoic and goofy, presenting the law student-turned-leader as a cautious individual who becomes dangerously fascinated with the brassy Patrizia. We see him change from someone who wanted nothing to do with the family business into … well, a Gucci.

Al Pacino also shows an admirable ability to play a softer character compared to the darker, more hardened mafia men we normally see him step into on-screen. His Aldo is pushy and driven, but oddly compassionate and ultimately quite likable. Jared Leto is perhaps the most absurdly impressive of all. He is nearly unrecognizable as Aldo’s idiot son Paolo bald and swimming in facial prosthetics that only emphasize his purely farcical character. Leto’s antics paired with Driver and Pacino’s sincerity and Gaga’s ferocity make for a spectacular mess, a movie from which it is nearly impossible to look away. 

Apart from the dynamic acting and the dramatized plot line, the film is also a jukebox delight. The use of music throughout the story is simply brilliant, tying in classic ‘70s and ‘80s anthems from artists such as Donna Summer, Blondie and Eurythmics. I actually laughed out loud when George Michael’s “Faith” began to play during Patrizia and Maurizio’s wedding, as well as during the final court scene, when Tracy Chapman and Luciano Pavarotti’s duet “Baby Can I Hold You” appeared as Patrizia was convicted of murder. As preposterous as it seems, the music matches the rest of the film perfectly, creating a quirky take on the demise of one of the most notorious fashion empires.

“House of Gucci” is a heap of madness. It’s long, it’s campy and the Italian accents are all over the place. Occasionally, you wonder how this can possibly be a true story. For such an over-the-top film, however, it also has its moments of surprising vulnerability. My favorite is when Aldo learns that his son has sold his shares of Gucci, and even though Paolo has screwed up for seemingly the millionth time, Aldo cannot help but wrap him in his arms and whisper, “You’re an idiot, but you’re my idiot.” I guess you could say that’s how I feel about the entirety of the film.


Title: “House of Gucci”

Starring: Lady Gaga, Adam Driver, Al Pacino, Jared Leto

Director: Ridley Scott

If you like: The Godfather

Shamrocks: 4 out of 5

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About Olivia Seymour

Olivia is a freshman from Traverse City, Michigan, pursuing a double major in English and Film, Television, and Theatre. Though the rules of journalism prohibit it, she is also a serious Oxford comma enthusiast.

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