Lady Gaga House Of Gucci Performance Is Incredible in Uneven Movie
Ridley Scott has two potentially Oscar-nominated movies this season. The first, Last Duel, came out last month. However, despite a great cast and positive reviews, the box office numbers were abysmal. But for the holiday weekend, he has an even bigger movie debuting, The House of Gucci, starring Lady Gaga, Adam Driver, Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons, and Jared Leto. But despite great acting (especially from Gaga), the movie had a few faults to it.
Lady Gaga Might Win her First Acting Oscar for The House of Gucci
Even from the trailers, everyone knew that Gaga was a safe bet for an Oscar nomination and probably a win. In real life, Patrizia Reggiani-Gucci is a force of nature. When asked why she hired hitmen to kill her husband, she explained to the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, “I didn’t hate Maurizio. I never hated him. It was my irritation — he irritated me.” She never even pretends to be angelic or remorseful, despite getting out of jail early for good behavior. She could have gotten out in 2011, on a work release, but chose to stay in prison because, as she said, “I’ve never worked in my life, and I don’t intend to start now.” But the coldest response she ever gave? When asked why she hired a hitman and didn’t kill Maurizio Gucci herself, she responded, “My eyesight is not so good. I didn’t want to miss.”
That is not an easy character to play, but Gaga captures Patrizia’s charm and coldness beautifully. She is an intense person in real life – probably even more so than the movie could relate, a case of “stranger than fiction.” And though lines like “I don’t consider myself to be a particularly ethical person, but I am fair” might sound like a cool line of dialogue, Reggiani-Gucci would say something like that. Where Gaga shines is her delivery in both these cold, ruthless moments, but also in showing her vulnerability. Without Lady Gaga, The House of Gucci just wouldn’t work. Scott struck gold (or maybe Gucci?) when he cast her.
Aside from Lady Gaga, the Other Actors in The House of Gucci Range from Incredible to Insufferable
If anyone else gets an Oscar nomination for this movie, it will be Al Pacino, who plays Maurizio’s uncle Aldo Gucci. Pacino brings a lot of humor to the role of the eccentric CEO but also reminds us that he is a very human character too. He loves his family and loves his family business. And despite wanting Maurizio to take over the company instead of his own son, Paolo Gucci, he loves his kid too. “You’re an idiot,” he tells him at one point. “But you’re my idiot,” humor and humanity all wrapped up into one short Italian actor. Perfect.
But then there’s Jared Leto’s Paolo Gucci. As good as Lady Gaga is in The House of Gucci, Leto is irritating (but not “hire a hitman” level irritating). His Italian accent sounds like he was auditioning for the new Mario movie, only it’s so cartoonish, I’d choose Chris Pratt over him any day of the week. Seriously, my ancestors would crawl out of their graves to smack Leto. However, he isn’t recognizable as Paolo, wearing a lot of makeup and prosthetics. Probably a good thing for him. Maybe people will forget that it was him. It’s a shame, though, because Paolo was such a lovable character. You just want to give him a hug by the end.
And then there was Gucci…
Adam Driver is a little harder to break down. He is good. Really good. He plays the stoic, quiet Maurizio Gucci in such a way where all his schemes and betrayals seem perfectly reasonable. Maurizio is a prime example of why you should be more scared of the quiet Italian than the loud, boisterous one. Driver brings patience to Maurizio, only letting his emotions get the best of him once. Most of the characters don’t even know he screwed them over even as their worlds come crashing down.
But Driver also has an accent problem. No, he doesn’t try to be the Luigi to Leto’s Mario. Instead, he’s just heavily stilted. As the movie progresses, his accent gets less and less pronounced. When that happens, his performance gets better and better. It’s distracting, but not to the point where it detracts that much from the performance.
Ridley Scott Might have Needed a Bigger Gucci Bag
The movie is so close to outstanding; you’ll wish they spent more time on it. The problem is that the Gucci legacy and family has so much drama that it would take a four-hour film to explore it all with any justice. And since he needs to narrow in on the best incidents for the story, some character development suffers. You think you understand a character, but then their next actions negate the scene you just saw.
Yet the style and story are so good, I feel torn on not loving it. I really want to, and some scenes will end up being iconic. However, I left feeling like something was missing. What The House of Gucci needed, and would have been the best way to showcase Lady Gaga in all her glory as Patrizia, was an HBO-style miniseries. This needed ten hours, not two hours and forty minutes.
Or maybe, like Kingdom of Heaven, we’ll get a mind-blowing director’s cut.
The House of Gucci, starring Lady Gaga, Adam Driver, Jeremy Irons, Al Pacino, Selma Hayak, and Jared Leto, is in theaters now.
(Featured Image: MGM Studios)
Roman Colombo finished his MFA in 2010 and now teaches writing and graphic novel literature at various Philadelphia colleges. His first novel, Trading Saints for Sinners, was published in 2014. He's currently working on his next novel and hoping to find an agent soon.