Movie review: Oscar buzz for Lady Gaga anew in 'House of Gucci'

Fred Hawson

Posted at Jan 20 2022 01:52 PM

Lady Gaga in 'House of Gucci.' Handout
Lady Gaga in 'House of Gucci.' Handout

In 1978, trucking firm clerk Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga) met the shy law student Maurizio Gucci (Adam Driver) at a party. Recognizing the famous surname and knowing this was her way out of her present blue-collar existence, Patrizia never let go of Maurizio anymore until they eventually get married, even it this was against the objections of his father Rodolfo (Jeremy Irons) who owned 50% of the Gucci Fashion House. 

The family dynamics was made more interesting by Rodolfo's brother Aldo Gucci (Al Pacino) who owned the other 50% of the fashion house, and his foolish son Paolo (Jared Leto) who believed that he had the talent for designing haute couture. When she got pregnant, Patrizia was able to get Maurizio back into the Gucci business by gaining Aldo's favor. She later pushed Maurizio to be more active in the company as she plotted to gain controlling interest. 

This sensational new film by veteran director Ridley Scott is a tale of family drama and business politics based on a 2001 book "The House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour, and Greed" written by Sara Gay Forden. Gucci, of course, is a world-renowned Italian luxury fashion brand, so this juicy tale of greed, scandal and crime that brewed among its rich and famous owners during the 1980s is an irresistible one. 

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The ensemble cast assembled for this project was also quite irresistible for film fans to miss. The primary actors all had an Oscar pedigree as nominees or winners, all with their own unique versions of the Italian accent. 

The flashy and passionate Lady Gaga was a natural to play the seductively confident Patrizia. With his nerdy glasses and stiff posture, Adam Driver played Maurizio with social awkwardness and stilted business sense. 

Those scenes shared by cinema icons Jeremy Irons and Al Pacino with their contrasting attacks on their characters, the icy cold Rodolfo and the warm effusive Aldo respectively, were riveting to watch. 

Disappearing behind his radically altering hair and make-up, Jared Leto played it to the peanut gallery with his slapstick comic portrayal of Paolo. Selma Hayek also got a piece of the action as the psychic Pina whom Patrizia ran to for advice. 

The social-climbing and gold-digging antics of Patrizia were the standard staples of melodramatic soap operas. With Lady Gaga playing it with high camp, with no subtlety for her ulterior motives, these scenes were both fun and cringey to watch. She totally possessed this film with her charisma, holding her own alongside her illustrious senior co-stars. 

The build up to the ending though was rather abrupt and felt anti-climactic in execution. 

This review was originally published in the author's blog, “Fred Said.”