Boof, 3.5 readers. Very boof indeed.
BQB here with a review of the very underrated House of Gucci. (BEWARE SPOILERS)
Always know the difference between chocolate and shit, 3.5 readers. They both look alike but when you bite into the wrong one and get that terrible taste in your mouth, it’s too late. Disgusting yet wise words and I would say this movie is very much a tasty chocolate treat.
Money is the root of all evil, and when it comes in the form of a family business, it can turn people who are supposed to love each other into bitter rivals. Such is the case when Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga) charms her way into the House of Gucci as a loving wife to son Maurizio (Adam Driver) only to become a cancer that spreads destruction and catastrophe to everyone and everything she touches.
The first third of the film is a sweet love story. Maurizio, a shy law student, meets Patrizia at a party. Her love brings him out of a self-induced shell and allows him to experience the world. Alas, father Rodolfo (Jeremy Irons) fears Patrizia, a commoner, is just after the family fortune and will leave his son penniless and broken. Estrangement between Maurizio and the Gucci clan ensues until Patrizia eventually charms the pants off everyone, wrapping them around her little finger.
If this were a 1990s rom com, the story would end there with M and P living happily ever after, having proven their love is strong enough to set aside resentments and the Guccis ride off into the sunset as one great big happy family. Ah, but this is a film based on real life, so naturally, in the second act, Patrizia proves that the fam’s fears were very much valid indeed. One by one, she takes the various and sundry Guccis out, separating them from their fortunes through power plays, trickery, deception, blackmail and so on, all in the name of putting her husband at the top of the game.
In the third act, P, having tromped over the heads of all the other Guccis, realizes her husband is the last obstacle in her way to having it all and well, since this is based on a true story you can just google to find out what happens or just watch the movie.
This movie got a lot of lampooning, especially because of the bad Italian accents. Problem is I’m not sure what the actors/actresses could have done differently. I’ve noticed a trend in some movies based overseas for actors to speak in their regular English speaking accents, or in movies like Valkyrie, British actors are utilized to at least provide an air of foreign speaking to the American ear. I don’t think any of that would have worked in a movie set against beautiful high society Italian backdrops.
At first, I found myself offended by Jerod Leto’s portrayal of Paolo Gucci, the so-called most useless of the Guccis, a portly, bald, naive, almost child-like man baby easily duped by Patrizia into bringing about the demise of himself and everyone he loves. My initial thought is putting Leto in a fat suit and heavy facial prosthetics comes across as “fat face” and “bald face” and honestly, aren’t there chubby, bald actors who ignored all the people who told them they’d never make it in Hollywood because they are chubby and bald whose ship would have come in with this role? Why just ugly up a handsome guy? It just comes across as a mean-spirited, lampooning of chubby bald men.
But as the movie progressed, I did warm up to Leto’s portrayal. At first, he’s a fool but as we learn more info, we see how his overbearing, money holding over his head family set him up over the years so that he could have never grown up to become anything other than a fool. Don’t be fooled into thinking that money buys happiness. It just buys you into a new set of high-class problems.
Al Pacino stars in the best role he’s had in a long time, that as Aldo, the seemingly tough family patriarch who turned the Gucci brand into an international empire only to be rooked by his conniving niece-in-law.
STATUS: Shelf-worthy. Unfairly snubbed by the Oscars. An interesting study into how money can rip a family apart, how family businesses often don’t last when passed down from one generation to the next because a successful business needs one decision maker at the top ruling with an iron fist, not rule by committee formed of people who bitterly resent one another. Even so, sometimes these powder keg type situations can be safely stored away for many years until an outsider like Patrizia comes in and lights a match.