It’s been over 26 years since the murder of Maurizio Gucci, who once ran his family’s famous fashion business. The crime made headlines and rocked the fashion industry. House of Gucci not only revisits that moment, but ventures back two decades to build up the relationships, the conflict, and the events leading up to his death. Directed by Ridley Scott from a screenplay by Becky Johnston and Roberto Bentivegna — who draw from the book, The House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour, and Greed, by Sara Gay Forden — House of Gucci boasts strong performances and is hammy enough to be occasionally enjoyable, but falls flat in the overall effectiveness of its story.

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House of Gucci follows Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga), the daughter of a truck business owner who is responsible for the accounts and is celebrated by her father for being able to forge signatures. Patrizia meets Maurizio (Adam Driver) at a party and they get married soon after, a decision that angers his father Rodolfo Gucci (Jeremy Irons). Maurizio is content with working in ground transportation, but Patrizia knows the power of the name Gucci and works to bring Maurizio back into the good graces of Rodolfo — namely, by establishing a good rapport with his uncle, Aldo Gucci (Al Pacino) and, to a lesser extent, Aldo’s outsider son Paolo (Jared Leto). Intent on making Maurizio a big name within his family’s company, something which he certainly leans into, the pair work on their rise to the top, with grave consequences.

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house of gucci review
Lady Gaga and Adam Driver in House of Gucci

Lady Gaga's performance as Patrizia is by far one of the best things about House of Gucci, ridiculous enough without going over the top. She really commits to an Italian accent more than most and, when the time calls for it, her portrayal can be simultaneously devastating and funny. However, one of the biggest letdowns of the film is how little is understood about her overall perspective. The screenplay could have used a lot more polishing with regards to what drives Patrizia besides money and power. Questions of how she truly feels about the Guccis, Maurizio, and her life at large always bubble to the surface, but House of Gucci doesn't linger long enough to ponder or explore her interiority beyond the choices she makes to drive a wedge between the family.

By the time Maurizio leaves her and she tries to come back into his life, it's unclear if she ever loved him at all or if Patrizia was only ever drawn to the legacy of Gucci. House of Gucci makes sure to leave Patrizia feeling like an outsider; every time she tries to put her foot through the door she is pushed out by a comment made by a family member, including Rodolfo’s lawyer Domenico De Sole (Jack Huston), or an action committed that maintains a barrier between her and the rest of her husband's family. But the film doesn’t capitalize on this often enough, which leaves the buildup toward Maurizio's demise — and the tension the story needed as everything falls apart — somewhat restrained.

Lady Gaga and Jared Leto in House of Gucci

While Scott’s film never pokes fun at the characters or the seriousness with which they take their business’ inner workings and family affairs, House of Gucci wastes an opportunity to be a lot more fun than it is. The costumes (designed by Janty Yates) are impeccable, giving the story and characters a boost of drama and an air of self-importance that permeates every moment throughout the film. There's a lot of potential that goes untapped, however, with the film's emotional beats lacking effectiveness, turmoil, and general panache. Even Maurizio's murder ultimately falls flat in the way it’s handled.

At over two hours and a half, House of Gucci’s pacing leaves certain aspects of the story in need��of tighter writing. The actors definitely seem to be having a lot of fun with the material, though, with Jared Leto’s performance managing to land a few laughs and Al Pacino fully embracing the zeal of Aldo's persona. To that end, the film certainly reaches the heights of unadulterated soap opera drama and decadence; and yet, it still requires an energetic boost to stick the emotional, twisted landing. So while House of Gucci is melodramatic enough to be engaging and watchable, with the performances being a standout, a lot of the story needed to be ironed out and further explored for it to achieve anything beyond semi-serious superficiality.

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House of Gucci releases in theaters November 24, 2021. The film is 157 minutes long and is rated R for language, some sexual content, and brief nudity and violence.

Our Rating:

2.5 out of 5 (Fairly Good)
Key Release Dates
  • House of Gucci (2021)Release date: Nov 24, 2021
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