*Spoiler alert for “House of Gucci” (2021)*
It seems like the title international popstar is becoming synonymous with critically acclaimed actor these days, with both Harry Styles and Lady Gaga becoming highly sought after in the film industry. Lady Gaga’s latest movie, “House of Gucci,” is already generating Oscar buzz and how can it not? With Lady Gaga, Adam Driver, Jared Leto, Selma Hayek and Al Pacino all in one film, “House of Gucci” is sure to spark some Academy Award nominations.
The film centers on the relationship between now-convicted murderer, Patrizia Reggiani (Gaga) and Maurizio Gucci (Driver). The story starts in the 1970s, on the night the two fateful lovers encounter each other at a party, with Gaga portraying an outlandish and outspoken Patrizia and Driver portraying an awkward and uncomfortable Gucci hiding behind the bar. The two meet organically, but Patrizia becomes really interested when she finds out that Maurizio is a Gucci, ultimately stalking him and coercing him into agreeing to a date.
The quiet, mild-mannered Maurizio falls in love with Patrizia, even giving up his father and his inheritance to be with her after his father insists that she’s a gold-digger. Sometimes fathers know best. The two get married, despite the Gucci family’s disapproval, and Maurizio begins working for Patrizia’s father’s trucking company.
In this era, the newly-weds live a modest middle class lifestyle with which Maurizio couldn’t be happier. Dissatisfied, Patrizia pushes Maurizio to reconcile with his family and become more involved in the wealthy business despite Maurizio’s hesitancy and they eventually have a child together.
Maurizio’s father passes away, leaving 50% of the company to his son. As it often does, more money means more problems and this is when the Gucci family’s tensions hit its peak. Under heavy influence and manipulation from Patrizia, Maurizio ends up tricking his eccentric caricature of a cousin (played by Leto, but in true Jared Leto fashion I had no idea the stocky, bald man on screen was him until I was researching this article) into selling off his shares which make up the other half of the company, naming Maurizio the majority shareholder of the Gucci empire. With a new lavish lifestyle — and new mistress — Maurizio leaves Patrizia. If you know the history, you know that Patrizia got bloody revenge.
As you can see, “House of Gucci” provides an action-packed two hours and 38 minutes of entertainment. The movie is “inspired by a true story,” so it understandably has some embellishments and fiction mixed into the true story, but if you ask the remaining Gucci family it’s more fiction than fact. From the aesthetically inaccurate casting of Al Pacino as Aldo Gucci to the dramatization of certain events, the Gucci family’s response to the movie was that of disappointment. They also claimed that the film capitalized on their private familial story in the name of increasing profits for Hollywood.
Plot aside, the film is visually stunning. It’s one of those rare movies that is both artistic and critically acclaimed, but also thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable to the masses. I recently watched “Spencer” with my family, which I’d say is a comparable film given its “based on a true story” plot and the fact that it’s suspected that Lady Gaga and Kristen Stewart are the frontrunners for the best actress Academy Award.
Compared to “Spencer,” the “House of Gucci” plot moved at a much quicker pace, while remaining enjoyable to watch and easy to follow. “House of Gucci” also had several interesting name drops like Gianni Versace and Tom Ford. Ford was highlighted in the film as the savior of the Gucci brand in the world of fashion, although he too wasn’t in love with the film.
What solidified the film as outstanding was the performance of the actors. Leto’s over-the-top performance as the outlandish cousin provided several laugh-out-loud moments and iconic insults that I plan on working into my everyday speech (“lying sack of potatoes,” anyone?).
Adam Driver’s performance is adorable and lovable as per usual, despite his character’s questionable moral choices. If I learned anything from “Star Wars,” it’s that Adam Driver could play the worst villain imaginable and I’d still find him endearing. Despite this, “House of Gucci” belongs to Lady Gaga and I have a feeling she will finally get the Oscar of which she was robbed after her nomination for “A Star Is Born”…but that’s a different story.