House of Gucci

  • 22 Jan - 28 Jan, 2022
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Reviews

Ridley Scott’s fantastically rackety, messy soap opera about the fall of the house of Gucci is rescued from pure silliness by Lady Gaga’s glorious performance as Patrizia Reggiani, the enraged ex-wife of Maurizio Gucci, grandson of the fashion-house founder Guccio Gucci. She singlehandedly delivers the movie from any issues about Italianface casting: only she can get away with speaking English with the comedy foreign accent. Every time Gaga comes on screen, you just can’t help grinning at her sly elegance, mischief and performance-IQ, channelling Gina Lollobrigida or Claudia Cardinale in their early-50s gamine styles.

Gaga shows us a Patrizia who is an aspirational young woman, a black-belt minx who is also profoundly innocent, with a secretarial day job working for her dad, a socially humble but well-off haulier. In 1970, she shows up at a Milan disco and meets-cute with gawky, lanky Maurizio Gucci, a law student with no great interest in the family business. He is played with gallant diffidence by Driver wearing a pair of big glasses – a mandarin-geek look.

They fall in love, to the furious disdain of Maurizio’s father, Rodolfo, played by Jeremy Irons. He is a pampered former movie-matinee idol who gave up showbiz to rejoin the family firm and now suspects Patrizia of being a gold-digger. But Patrizia and Maurizio get married, an event with which Ridley Scott and editor Claire Simpson create a showstopping transition.

So, Patrizia is to meet (and charm) the rest of the family, including Maurizio’s deadbeat loser cousin and wannabe designer Paolo (Jared Leto). And then there’s Maurizio’s genial uncle Aldo, played with a certain type of distrait charm by Al Pacino. This casting triggers a certain question: sure, dopey Paolo is Fredo, but who is Michael Corleone in this scenario? Maurizio or Patrizia? Yet just as Patrizia is coyly masterminding her man’s future dominance in the company, he is ungratefully fixing to sideline her after being re-enamoured of a certain upper-class acquaintance: Paola Franchi, played by Camille Cottin.

House of Gucci is enjoyable despite, or because of, Scott’s touristy, pantomimey approach to Italy and Italian culture. Yet with real storytelling zest the director punches up every scene, often with some very old-school musical cues: trad opera almost every time.

In the end, this is Lady Gaga’s film: her watchability suffuses the picture, an arrabbiata sauce of wit, scorn and style.