Story: When Patrizia (Lady Gaga) first saw Maurizio (Adam Driver), she knew she had to have him and once she set her mind on that, nothing was going to stop her. While he came from the world famous Gucci family, he showed no real interest in the family business, though of course, Patrizia would make sure that changed. Maurizio’s father Rodolfo (Jeremy Irons) and his uncle Aldo (Al Pacino) still hold power as the co-owners of Gucci, but both are ready to pass along the family business, while Aldo doesn’t believe his son Paolo (Jared Leto) has the ability to take over. This leaves Maurizio, who begins to get involved after Patrizia’s encouragement, though their relationship suffers in the process, as the family fractures and starts to fall apart. How will the transfer of power of this world class brand happen and who will retain control of the House of Gucci?
Entertainment Value: This is a big budget, star studded melodrama that embraces style over substance and revels in over the top melodrama. I have no idea if this was intended to be a serious drama, but it comes off like a soap opera that has run off the rails and I mean that as a compliment, as the movie is a lot of fun to watch. I assumed this would be an overly serious, pretentious drama and I think this kind of melodrama makes much more sense for the source material, not to mention being more entertaining than the usual Hollywood drama. How based in reality this version is, I can’t say, but a quick glance online shows at least some doubts around many aspects, though you have to expect some dramatic license even in movies inspired by real life stories. The film has style to burn, with beautiful visuals and an overall design that does the Gucci legacy justice, as the entire picture has a sense of elegance, even when the melodrama is off the charts. I didn’t expect House of Gucci to win me over, but I had fun with this one and appreciated the outlandish elements.
And as far as outlandish elements here go, none can eclipse the ridiculous, hilarious performance of Jared Leto as Paolo, Gucci’s black sheep. He is under a ton of makeup that makes him nearly unrecognizable, but he looks little like the real life version. I have no idea why they veered off so much, but then the movie seems to delight in dragging Paolo through the mud, so it isn’t a surprise that he looks like a drunken Gallagher impersonator and sounds like Nintendo’s Mario. The accent is wild and his voice is so high, it is quite out of place and hilarious, even in his melodramatic whirlwind. I just wish he had more screen time, as he chews up the scenes and dials his turn way up, so perhaps not his finest dramatic work, but I think he was immense fun here. Jeremy Irons had the best dramatic effort in House of Gucci, nailing the vibe of an ultra rich, self centered businessman. The cast also includes Al Pacino, Lady Gaga, Adam Driver, and Salma Hayek.