House of Gucci puts Lady Gaga in the Oscar battle as the femme fatale behind the murder of Maurizio Gucci

“I do not consider myself a particularly ethical person, but I am fair,” says Lady Gaga as Patrizia Gucci, born Reggiani, in Ridley Scott’s sudsy, star-studded dramatization of the decline of the Gucci dynasty.

Out for Oscar gold after her nomination for A Star Is Born, Gaga impresses as the glamorous femme fatale at the heart of the film: the real Reggiani is notorious for ordering hits on ex-husband Maurizio Gucci – the last in his family to preside over the eponymous fashion house, channeled to this by Adam Driver – who wanted to see him shot down outside his office in Milan on March 27, 1995.

Murder is an act that would apparently be classified as rather unfair by any metric bar Reggiani’s own. (On that fateful day, she marked a one-word record in her diary: “PARADEISOS,” it said in all letters – Greek for “paradise.”)

Stylishly dressed Italian woman with short dark hair and dark eye makeup holds well-groomed hand up to the man outside the screen.
When she was released, Reggiani was asked by a journalist why she hired a hitman. “My vision is not so good. I did not want to miss,” she said.(Delivered: Universal)

But Reggiani, who still considers himself “the most Gucci of them all”, is hardly the only member of the well-to-do clan who has behaved as if they were above the law – a little tax fraud has never hurt anyone, well? And should carabinieri come and knock, you just have to hurry over to the St Moritz property, where Swiss law prevents extradition for economic crime.

Patrizia is also not the only Gucci who has betrayed his own kind: this was a family that stood up against itself through the 80s. As Sara Gay Forden portrayed in The House of Gucci, the non-fiction book from which the film was adapted, the company during this period was defined by secret alliances that were forged and ruthlessly dissolved between fathers, sons and cousins.

In a jockey for control of this empire built on humble leather goods and loafers – now celebrating its 100th anniversary, no longer a family business but a subsidiary of a French multinational – more than one Gucci would stay behind bars.

Man with glasses, graying hair and textured gray suit over a light blue shirt looks offscreen with intensity.
“Seduction is a big part of the film. Maurizio is seduced by Patrizia, then seduced by power and then by pride,” Driver (pictured) said in press comments.(Delivered: Universal)

Ford’s book quotes a selected quote from Jenny Gucci, bitter ex-wife to Maurizio’s cousin Paolo: “What you need to understand about the Gucci,” she snuck in, “is that they are all completely insane, incredibly manipulative and not very clever.”

Send the popcorn.

Skipping House of Gucci over The Last Duel, the tiring medieval #MeToo tale published by the director in 2021, House of Gucci returns to 2017’s All the Money in the World – also about a woman who is forced to struggle with the dysfunctional ultra-rich family, she married in.

But Gucci, which is pushing nearly two decades of slightly cohesive history into its 158 minutes, edges deliciously close to the camp where Scott’s Getty saga was fierce.

Gaga and her co-stars glide through countless palace-like interiors from Milan to New York – in addition to Driver, there are Jared Leto as Paolo, Al Pacino as Maurizio’s uncle Aldo, and Jeremy Irons as his father Rodolfo – expressing their feelings by throwing plates. of carpaccio or piss on silk scarves; they trade barbs in sharp English with Italian flavor.

Man in navy blue suit with hands in pockets standing in front of a bald man in checkered orange suit and woman in vibrant purple dress.
“[Reggiani] was an outsider and a woman in a male world. As many women know, their power can often go unnoticed, ”Gaga said in press releases.(Delivered: Universal)

Gaga brings the greatest conviction on the accent front, Driver the least – but he pretty much gets away with it – both because it matches the shyness of his character, the straight man of history, and because he makes himself such a charming Poindexter.

Leto plays the dumbest and most style-challenged of the pack. If it comes as no surprise that the peacock-method actor proves the greatest ham in the herd (move over, Pacino), then it’s a total surprise – at least for this writer – that he submits his role with such a comic aplomb.

Becky Johnston and Roberto Bentivegna’s screenplay makes Leto roll most of the film’s best (read: dumbest) remarks around his mouth and add a polishing, overwhelming musicality to them. “My bladder may be full, but my dreams are even fuller,” he says, upset that his relationships will not recognize his “gift” for design.

Paolo’s vision of mixing pastels with browns makes him something of a pariah at a time when Gucci aesthetics were all about conservative elegance. (It’s towards the end of the film that the revolution arrives in the form of Tom Ford, played here by Reeve Carney, and his iconic sexy collection from 1995.)

Bald Italian man in checkered purple three-piece suit leans over the table covered in clothes design sketches
“I discovered so many little grains of gold [the Guccis] which I had not known, such as Paolo’s obsession with pigeons, ”Bentivegna said in press releases.(Delivered: Universal)

Patrizia’s sense of dress also sets her apart: Like a lukewarm Fran Drescher, she is often the lady in red when everyone else is wearing tan (or navy or cream). But – as ambitious as any of the Gucci men, and more cold-blooded – she manages to arm her outsider status for a while.

Her difference from Maurizio’s enclosed social set is what initially attracts him to her: It can not be often that the Gucci heir gets confused with the bartender at a party.

Of course, Patrizia ultimately strives to be accepted in the fold. As Maurizio’s new bride, she encourages him to become more and more active in the company, Lady Macbeth to his reluctant Thane, and works hard to infuse herself with the members of her new extended family – and gathers the information she will use to burn existing feuds.

Italian woman in luxurious two-piece checkered tan outfit with black wavy hair in 60s style and dark eyeliner sits unhappy.
Scott was convinced that Gaga was the only person who brought Reggiani to life. He described her in press releases as “a real engine for creativity.”(Delivered: Universal)

It is when Maurizio discards her that her planning, as made possible by Salma Hayek’s baty clairvoyant Pina, goes up in a murderous gear.

When juggling these interactions, Scott’s films, like Paolo’s, are not always as stylish or as sleek as they think.

The pacing and periodization sometimes feels off; the choice of music ranges from uninspired to distracting. (George Michael’s Faith, for example, is unfit to walk down the aisle, while an Italian cover of I’m a Believer by Caterina Caselli unfortunately just evokes memories of Shrek.)

With a few minor changes, House of Gucci could have been a show stopper. It’s still, in its own way, crooked – and I happen to think Paolo Gucci looks pretty striking in the pink velvet buck, right?

House of Gucci is in theaters from January 1st.



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