3 out of 5 stars
Father, son, and house of inconsistent storylines.
My most anticipated movie of the year, “House of Gucci,” was released on Nov. 24. I ran to see this film as soon as I could, and I left the theatre knowing that I enjoyed the film; however, I still felt dissatisfied with some aspects of it.
Within the first five minutes of the film, Patrizia, played by Lady Gaga, is already enamored with Maurizio, played by Adam Driver. This entire storyline is rushed; the two get married twenty minutes into the film. I wanted more background on the two and how their relationship came to be.
Within the first half hour of the film, there is an aggressive sex scene. I felt like I barely knew these characters and I was already seeing them at their most vulnerable. What made me more uncomfortable was how purely aggressive it was. It is hard to put into words. The only way I can put it is that Driver was just pounding Gaga to death — I feared for her.
Then out of nowhere, we are introduced to Jared Leto’s character Paolo Gucci, who is unnecessary to the film. In a story about Patrizia and Maurizio, too much of the movie focuses on Leto’s character. In fact, I despised his character. He’s supposed to be the comedic relief of the film, but I cringed at all of his “jokes.”
Leto had the worst performance of the film. His accent was like a mockery — at times he sounded like Mario. Compared to Gaga and Driver with their strong, accurate accents, it felt like Leto was struggling to fit in.
At times the soundtrack is distracting. Never in my days did I expect to hear “I’m A Believer” in Italian in a film with Lady Gaga. The cuts are harsh, and it is a mix of period-accurate hits and classical music turned into an 80s fever dream.
A redeeming factor is the wardrobe. As to be expected from a Gucci movie, the fashion of the film is immaculate. Gaga stuns in numerous beautiful outfits with incredible detail. Adam Driver also was particularly well-dressed in this film, but male fashion bores me.
Returning to the plotline, while grateful to see this inclusion of how Patrizia manipulates her husband into betraying his family, I think they focus on the tax fraud for a little too long. Aldo, played by Al Pacino is convincing, but then again, when in a scene next to Jared Leto, anyone’s performance could look spectacular.
Then, the weirdest jump of the movie occurred, going from tax fraud to Christmas. Aggressively, “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” plays at the end of an intense fight and suddenly things are transported to the Swiss Alps.
This is when the marriage starts to fall apart, as compared to the beginning of the film when they were so madly in love it made me upset. Both Gaga and Driver’s characters have a complete change in their motives, and I loved it.
This to me is when Gaga starts to stand out. Gaga’s commitment to this character is remarkable; her performance is breathtaking, she gave it her all. From the beginning, I instantly understood her character, how deceptive her Patrizia is.
Was she really in love with Maurizio, or did she really just want the money? Gaga made strong choices and it paid off in the end. If Gaga was not in this film, it may not have had such a strong redeeming quality.
Driver also does particularly well with his characterization. In the beginning, he is a shy man, wanting nothing to do with Gucci, only wanting to be happily married to Patrizia. Then, suddenly he becomes power-hungry once he inherits the business, and almost writes Patrizia off as soon as he meets a new love interest.
Spectacular performance on his behalf, and I am expecting an Oscar nomination for them both.
About five new storylines get added in the last thirty minutes, which makes no sense. The film started to drag and I almost forgot about Gaga because no plotline centered around her. Did the inclusion of a Tom Ford fashion show make any sense to the main plot? No, but I was very happy to see an ass cheek on the big screen.
The main storyline reemerges with Patrizia and Pina, played by Salma Hayek, plotting the murder. Pina is such a weird character to include in the film, I did not understand her at all; nevertheless, she was there.
The plans are made, and I expected the next scene to be the murder. It wouldn’t be “House of Gucci,” however, without one last weird new plotline to add. A weird business meeting occurred after the fashion show, and truly, I could not tell you any significance to it.
The most climactic part of the movie, the murder, was underwhelming. Out of nowhere Driver gets killed, and then we see Gaga in a bathtub. It was a weird way to showcase death — I wish it was more intense.
The ending was rushed. I wish some of the unnecessary plot points were taken out so we could get more of the trial, or not even include the trial at all since they only spend a minute covering it.
The movie closes with the worst thing that could have ever happened: A montage. To say I audibly screamed when I saw the text pop up on the screen saying where everyone ended up… I was utterly disgusted at this cheap way to end the film.
If this montage did not mark the end of the movie, I would have ranked it higher, but it ruined the film for me.
Overall, the movie had some strong moments, but some even weaker moments. I encourage everyone to see this for Gaga and Driver alone, they made this movie what it was. While it may not have been everything that I hoped and dreamed, I enjoyed most of the film and definitely will be watching it again.