House of Gucci endured much excitement, skepticism, and confusion before its release in November, and it seems that somehow, all of those sentiments were entirely deserved. Opinions of audiences have ranged from hatred to idolization, and it’s hard to find a spot along the spectrum that accurately represents the film’s entire 2 hours and 38 minutes.
From the beginning, you can sense something is just a little off. Jumps in time without consistent labeling, decade-appropriate costume changes, or even the unsubtle dialogue notes of passing years made it difficult to tell what was happening when. It also made the film drag on, even though we’d just started. Eons passed while Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga) seduced Maurizio Gucci (Adam Driver), as they dated, got married, and navigated complex relationships with their in-laws. So much time was spent establishing their place in the world, and very little on the actual scandal, divorce, and assassination.
The performances saved this film… nearly. A few powerful scenes made up for mediocre storytelling, but I couldn’t get past some of the very odd directing choices. Namely, Gaga and Driver’s total awkwardness as young lovers, and the entirety of Jared Leto’s portrayal of Paolo Gucci. Throughout this movie, I laughed a lot, but I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to be. If it had been presented as a black comedy, I would give it every award in the book. Alas, not even the actors seemed sure if they were in a drama, thriller, or twisted comedy.
From the beginning, Patrizia is presented as an ambitious gold-digger searching for status and fortune. No one will ever know how true this is but Patrizia herself, but House of Gucci seemed stubbornly one-sided. Going in, I was hoping to be reminded of I, Tonya or The Landscapers but saw nothing of them in the highly glamorized vision of Gucci fame. Ridley Scott seemed more focused on the fashion than on the demise of a clothing dynasty or the terrible acts that ended it. Glorifying murder-by-hire was just a side effect. Barely any mention was made of Maurizio and Patrizia’s children, who lost their father forever and their mother to jail. The brain tumor Patrizia suffered while Maurizio cheated on her, and its ramifications for her trial, were written out of existence entirely.
After some very quick and easy research, I’ve also discovered that a lot of the film was rather inaccurate. It wasn’t difficult to find details of the assassination and trial, leading to realizations that Ridley Scott took a number of creative liberties… For a director with many novel adaptations under his belt, House of Gucci was quite a letdown. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed myself while watching it, even though I may have been giggling at its ridiculousness 70% of the time. Was it good? Not really. Do I recommend watching it? Yes.