By Paul Hall
Gucci. It’s a name synonymous with quality and prestige. A name that stands out in a marketplace crowded with some of the most recognizable brands in existence. But there is always a story behind the name and House of Gucci, in theaters now, is that tale, including all the characters who rely on the brand in more ways than one.
Behind the brand name lies a family. The Gucci family is as diverse and dysfunctional as most, but the colorful characters have created a legacy and a name that everyone has heard about. When Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga) heads out for a night with a friend, she has no idea the person behind the bar at the party will be a member of the royal family of fashion. But when he introduces himself as Maurizio Gucci (Adam Driver), her eyes grow large and the infatuation begins.
In the relationship that blooms between the young couple, Maurizio’s father Rodolfo (Jeremy Irons) questions Patrizia’s intentions. The bitter chasm that is formed only expands as the two continue to progress in their love.
Uncle Aldo (Al Pacino) welcomes the happy couple into the family and encourages Maurizio to become more involved in the company, but can he act as a peacemaker between his brother and nephew, or is the split irrevocable?
A family business pulled in different directions by different motives leads to the wild west of familial and corporate jealousy and intrigue. The characters are the story in this film from Director Ridley Scott.
While the totality of the plot tends to drag on at times, Gaga, Driver, Pacino, Irons and the almost unrecognizable Jared Leto create individuals as colorful and eccentric as you would expect. Without such talented performers bringing these characters to life, Gucci would fall short of greatness.
I particularly enjoyed Irons in his smaller role in Gucci. He brings copious amounts of attitude and control, serving as a stark contrast to Pacino’s accepting attitude and experimental thinking. Both men deliver performances that have viewers looking inward at their own family differences as siblings sometimes display these same opposing personalities.
But Gaga is the star in this effort. Her journey from daughter of a waste management magnate (let’s be honest, her dad works in garbage) to member of the successful Gucci family is both a fairy tale and a nightmare. She goes on the roller coaster trip with relative ease and helps intensify so many of the emotions in the film.
Gucci is so much more than a fashion label. Although brands will frequently attempt to reinvent themselves, the hard part is to reinvent the people behind the brand. The people are the product and House of Gucci wins by utilizing its people.
Paul’s Grade: B+
House of Gucci
Stars: Lady Gaga, Adam Driver, Jared Leto, Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons
Director: Ridley Scott