‘House of Gucci:’ Girlboss, Gucci, Gaga

Film offers a glamorous retelling of an infamous murder


Fair use from Metro Goldwyn Mayer

Maren Wilsey

Ever since Lady Gaga teased her latest film on Instagram, the world has patiently waited for the arrival of “House of Gucci.” Directed by Ridley Scott, it follows the life of Maurizio and Patrizia Gucci, and the subsequent murder of the Maurizio by Patrizia. 


The tale of the Gucci’s is infamous — heir to the then-struggling company, Maurizio Gucci marries the poor no-name Patrizia Reggiani. She is by his side as Gucci turns from a dying company to one of the most prestigious brands around, whispering in his ear the whole time. 


Then a sudden divorce, where Maurizio quickly turned to a new woman — which causes a jealous Patrizia to order a hitman to kill her ex-husband. She was arrested for the murder shortly thereafter. 


The movie focuses on Patrizia’s scheming tendencies, and how she was really the one behind Maurizio’s rise in the company. She constantly spent time with the “right” people, elevating the couple’s social status. She was bold and ambitious where Maurizio was reserved and modest. His attitude changed after Patrizia convinced him to trick his family into making him the majority shareholder in the company. They both easily adapted to the affluent lifestyle that came along with this position. 


It also showcases the rest of the family, particularly Uncle Aldo, played by Al Pacino, and Cousin Paolo, played by Jared Leto. Leto’s performance in particular was especially enjoyable. He was unrecognizable as the eccentric and pathetic would-be designer. Everytime he was on screen, he stole the spotlight. 


By far the best part of this film was Lady Gaga’s performance as the infamous Patriza Gucci — it seems like this role was made for her. The scheming, calculated, power-hungry nature of the character was absolute perfection. Gaga was able to portray such a wide range of emotions throughout. From her highest highs to lowest lows, it all felt natural. 


It takes a truly great actor to be able to cover the whole emotional spectrum so convincingly and she was able to do just that. Additionally, Gaga is a very campy person, and that translated beautifully into the over-the-top wardrobe and emotions of the character.


Another thing I really enjoyed was the overall attention to detail. The costumes were amazing, the sets were beautiful and nothing escaped the careful crafting of the world they built on screen. The luxury of the Gucci’s life slowly took on an artificial and tacky look as we watched their downward spiral over the course of the film. 


Another fun detail was how you could see the passage of time through the characters’ hair. Patrizia was the best example of this, with constantly changing looks. Maurizio’s hair was cut short as the conflicts in their marriage appeared and even Maurizio’s bodyguard’s beard slowly turned gray over time. 


Although there were many brilliant aspects, the film had several weaknesses. My biggest issue was the absence of development between Patrizia and Maurizio. Gaga and Driver have great chemistry, however, we never really got attached to the idea of them being in love. We saw how they met, then they were suddenly engaged. We saw Maurizio give up his legacy for her, but the gesture seemed like a rash and impulsive move because it seemed like they had only just met. 


I understand they had to speed up the timeline, but  they could have allowed a few more minutes of the two and a half hours to really get the audience invested in them together. 


Similarly, when the inevitable divorce came along, Maurizio had only just realized how his feelings for Patrizia had changed when he was suddenly in love with a new woman. There was no transition period; no time to show Maurizio’s development. 


We never really saw any sort of emotion or nuance from him. He was a relatively emotionless character, but it was almost like he was a side player in his own story. Adam Driver is an incredible actor, but I don’t think his full potential was reached in this film. 


Clocking in at almost two hours and forty minutes, this was a very long movie. It was way too drawn out and near the end I found myself thinking, “what’s the point of this again?” The story was interesting, but there’s a limit to how long a movie can hold the viewer’s attention and it definitely hit its breaking point. 


Despite its drawbacks I enjoyed the film. It was lively, it had interesting and mostly developed characters, and it was visually fun to watch. The length would probably cause me to never watch it again, but it was a good watch the first time around. 


“House of Gucci:” ★★★☆☆