Kashiff Khan Insights on the film – House of Gucci
When Lady Gaga (who plays Patrizia Reggiani) devoutly makes the sign of the cross and exclaims “Father, son and House of Gucci,” you get a sense of what the luxury fashion brand meant to the working-class girl.
House of Gucci, Ridley Scott’s true-crime take on the 100-year-old fashion house, is more about dads and sons, spouses and wives, and squabbling siblings than it is about couture, catwalks, huge amounts of drugs, or catatonic models.
Based on Sara Gay Forden’s 2001 book, the film chronicles the story of the family-owned business‘s demise through the eyes of an outsider, Patrizia. She marries Maurizio (Adam Driver), the Gucci heir, much to the dismay of his father, Rodolfo (Jeremy Irons).
While the trailer of the movie is selling, I hold mixed feelings about the film. The brilliant performances of the actors were thrilling but the screenplay and writing were underwhelming, falling short of expectations. For me, it fails to settle on a consistent tone — being overlong and undisciplined as it veers between high drama and opera buffa.
A film on a venerable fashion house has to be beautifully clothed and costume designer Janty Yates delivers. According to reports, the Gucci family granted access to their archives. Some of the handbags Patrizia carries were originals and kept under lock and key when not on set!
Just as the clothes are gorgeous eye candy, the music is an aural treat. The songs act as a beautiful emotional shorthand, from George Michael’s ‘Faith’ during the wedding (the gown is so good) to Donna Summers’ ‘I Feel Love’ and many others. Celebrities, including designer Tom Ford (Reeve Carney), actor Sophia Loren (Mădălina Diana Ghenea) and Vogue editor Anna Wintour (Catherine Walker) breeze through the film.
Saving the best for the last is the acting—Lady Gaga gives an outstanding performance as Patrizia, swooping into her role like a gladiator of old and nailing Patrizia’s ferocity and fragility. Maurizio’s change is shown in small, delicate steps by Driver, who is as terrific as Maurizio. And it’s always a treat to see Al Pacino in action! Leto had the most prominent role, with plenty of prosthetics, while Hayek was nearly unrecognisable — almost being the operative word.
Overall, Gaga is a fantastic picture, but given its all-star ensemble and intriguing subject matter, it is a disappointment. The middle act drags, and having the cast “a-speak-a with Italian accents” was clearly misguided. Yes, it’s a bit of a mess structurally, but God is it enjoyable!