Friday, November 26, 2021

House of Gucci


Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga) does not really come from a poor family. Although they lack the pedigree, her father does own a trucking company where she works an administrative position. When she lays her eyes on Maurizio Gucci (Adam Driver) at a friend’s party, she immediately knows she has found what she really wants. She begins stalking him afterwards and he eventually falls for her charms. When his father Rodolfo (Jeremy Irons), 1/2 of the fashion empire disagrees, Patrizia charms her way to the other 1/2. Aldo Gucci (Al Pacino) is more adventurous when it comes to business, takes his nephew Maurizio in, and treats him like a son given his disappointment with his own Paolo (Jared Leto) whose ideas are deemed too eccentric for the company. Once the power couple are back in the game, a dysfunctional family drama unfolds, pitting family members against one another until it all leads to a murder that would scandalize the fashion world.

A lot of people are complaining about the bad Italian accents and the like. Lest we forget, this is a Hollywood movie made for Americans. ‘MURICA! I’m pretty sure an Italian filmmaker will be able to create a more legit cinematic masterpiece out of the material, but that’s not what House of Gucci is all about. It’s like getting a recommendation from a friend to try the Orange Chicken at Panda Express and then complaining that it’s not legit Chinese, in which case, the joke is obviously on you. If you just ride along and enjoy this campy dramedy from beginning to end, you will surely find something enjoyable in that joyride.

As for the controversies regarding the Gucci family’s response, this is the tricky territory when it comes to narratives like this. When you belong to a prominent family rocked by a scandal reverberating around the globe, the story crosses over to public domain. Since House of Gucci is not a documentary, it is understood that a lot of artistic liberties will be taken to come up with a compelling storyline. And since the film is also based on a book, the truth behind the real events it is based on will definitely be diluted even further.

It’s unfortunate, but that’s just how it is. Unless something is deliberately altered to be malicious or libelous in nature, then perhaps there is nothing much that can be done. Such is the case for Leto’s portrayal of Paolo, which has been openly criticized by real life daughter Patricia Gucci. Somehow, Leto turned the character into a caricature whose only purpose is to be the comic relief. Salma Hayek's presence as high society psychic Giuseppina Auriemma is not really felt at all. She could’ve been replaced by anyone, and nobody would even notice.

It is tempting to dismiss House of Gucci as a mere follow-up vehicle for Lady Gaga for this year’s awards season. After all, her performance, bad Italian accent aside, has been singled out in most reviews as one of the few saving graces of the film. However, this would be unfair to her other castmates who have evidently committed just as much to their roles, like Driver as Maurizio and Pacino as Aldo.

Nevertheless, it is Lady Gaga who will definitely be the favorite for nominations come awards season, and it seems like she is already a lock in receiving her third Oscar nomination for this role. In which case, we have to say kudos. Of all the musical acts crossing over to cinema that came before her, only a few can really say that they have been successful. If and when she gets that third Academy Award nomination under her belt, then she’d probably just be trailing Cher and Streisand as one of the most successful crossover acts to date with both a Grammy and an Oscar on her trophy case.

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