House of Gucci

Posted on November 23, 2021 at 5:14 pm

Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
Profanity: Strong language
Alcohol/ Drugs: Alcohol, constant smoking
Violence/ Scariness: Murder, betrayal
Diversity Issues: Class issues are a theme in the movie
Date Released to Theaters: November 24, 2021

Copyright MGM 2021
Remember the 80’s television series “Dynasty?” Combine that with the current HBO series “Succession” plus “The Godfather” and you have “House of Gucci,” the bananas real story of betrayal, ruthlessness, power, money, fashion, more money, and murder.

Lady Gaga gives everything she has to the role of Patrizia Reggiani, the ambitious woman who married into one of the wealthiest families in Europe, the people behind one of the top luxury and style brands in the world. We first see her working for her father’s trucking company when a friend invites her to be his date to an elegant costume ball. There she meets the shy, slightly awkward Maurizio Gucci (Adam Driver), a law student and the son of Rodolfo Gucci (Jeremy Irons), who runs the company with his brother Aldo (Al Pacino).

Patrizia perks up when she hears Mauritzio’s last name and becomes very flirtatious. He tells her she looks like Elizabeth Taylor, and she purrs back, “I’m more fun than Elizabeth Taylor.” When he does not call her after the party, she tracks him down, pretending it is just a coincidence that they have run into each other at a book store, though she admits she does not read.

Like all wealthy people, Rodolfo and Aldo are very concerned with maintaining the family fortunes. As Aldo ruefully admits to his brother, while each of them has a son, Rodolfo is proud of his but Aldo thinks his son Paolo (an unrecognizable Jared Leto) is an idiot. You can think of Paulo as this movie’s Fredo, especially when you see him with Pacino. Rodolfo, though, does not approve of Maurizio’s relationship with Patrizia because she is lower-class (she can’t tell Klimt from Picasso!) and, he correctly suspects, she is after the money. Maurizio defies his father and marries Patrizia. Cut off from the family fortune, he goes to work for Patriza’s father, and we see him happily wearing overalls and power-hosing trucks with the other employees.

But this simple, happy life does not last.

Rodolfo dies, as we know he will because he coughed in his first scene. By then, Patrizia has insinuated herself with Aldo, which helps Maurizio get back in the company. She may also have contributed her skills at forging signatures.

Family business can be an oxymoron. The more business there is, the harder it is on the family. The more family there is, the harder it is on the business. That’s where it all turns into a high-gloss, ultra-glam soap opera, not that there’s anything wrong with that. The various schemes are not always clear and, as noted widely in social media, the accents are inconsistent and sometimes distracting. In fairness to Lady Gaga, she is doing something very specific with hers, code switching to sound more upper class — or try to — in some circumstances. And, this will surprise no one, she is never less than fascinating to watch. Driver, always impressive, gives one of his best performances ever as Maurizio, from his shy, awkward meeting with Patrizia to his more confident, more authoritative time as head of the company. Even with all of the plotting and betrayal, though, we do not get much insight into the characters inside those clothes and mansions. The glamor and the family drama provide the icing and it is yummy enough you might not notice that there isn’t much cake holding it up.

Parents should know that this movie includes extensive material inappropriate for young viewers: sexual references and situations, very strong language, family confrontations and betrayals, and murder-for-hire.

Family discussion: Did Patrizia ever love Maurizio? What are the biggest problems for families who are also in business together?

If you like this, try: the Sara Gay Forden book that inspired the film and television series like “Succession” and “Billions”

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