House of Gucci, Ridley Scott's not-as-sweeping-as-he-thinks melodrama, charts the fall of the Gucci name from a family brand of rich history to corporate entity maximizing profit.
That story itself is frankly boring as hell.
I really don't care about the Gucci name or the brand. The closest connection I have to Gucci is a Guess brand tie I bought at a thrift store.
But that's part of the appeal of the movie.
Secretly, and sometimes openly, those of us in working class love to watch the super wealthy lose everything. Especially when its some exclusive and eccentric (e.g. gay) family like the Guccis.
HOUSE OF GUCCI isn't just about the fall of a name, its about how a single determined and retxrded white woman can destroy a multigenerational legacy.
Our entrance into the titular house is through Patrizia Reggiani, played quite marvelously by an unrecognizable Lady Gaga (Machete Kills). Patrizia meets the shy, awkward Maurizio Gucci played by Adam Driver (Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens), at a party and is disinterested in him until he introduces himself as a Gucci. Patrizia, being an Italian female social climber, immediately seizes on the opportunity. She begins to stalk Maurizio until finally pushing him into calling her for a date.
Maurizo falls for Patrizia. Maurizio does not want anything to do with the fashion industry, he wants to be lawyer and help people. Unfortunately for him, Patrizia wants a Gucci.
There is your conflict for the film.
The first hour or so is relatively well paced, showing how Patrizia pushes the soft Maurizio into a relationship with her. It's never hidden that Patrizia wants to be a Gucci and leave behind her family name, which isn't even that bad. Her father owns what appears to be a fairly well paying trucking company. One that makes enough money to pay for a rather nice wedding after Maurizio's father cuts him off for marrying the daughter of a trucker.
For some time, just prior to them getting married and the short time after, Patrizia seems content with Maurizio not being a Gucci. Then they get a call from his uncle Aldo (Al Pacino) and the social climbing Patrizia can't help but push Maurizio back into the family business he was happy to put behind him.
After Maurizio's father dies, and he inherits half of the Gucci business, Patrizia still isn't satisfied. She begins a very long con game to drive the uncle Aldo out of the business because she thinks he's diminishing the value of the name she was given in marriage.
She treats it as hers and despises anyone who disparages it, especially if they had it first.
Over the next decade, Patrizia keeps molding her husband from a shy and polite man into one that would stab his own family in the back. She essentially becomes the Guido version of Lady MacBeth.
They trick his cousin Paolo into turning Aldo Gucci in for tax evasion and use that absence to push Paolo out while Aldo is in prison. Maurizio has now basically taken over the House of Gucci.
This is what Patrizia wanted.
However, Maurizio is now the kind of man she made him: disloyal. He begins an affair and leaves Patrizia behind. This destroys her. She filled him with ambition. She turned him into this and is then shocked when he acts the way she wanted him to.
At one point in particular she asks "What kind of monster are you?"
And Maurizio responds "I'm not a monster. I'm a Gucci."
Patrizia spirals into a depression as Maurizio teams up with other investors to buy out his uncle.
Over the next couple years we see the biggest problem with Patrizia's plan: Maurizio doesn't know how to run a fashion house. All he knows is law and how to backstab.
The Gucci company is hemorrhaging money and his investor partners want him out at the same time that Patrizia has hit rock bottom. She hires hitmen to kill her ex-husband, the father of her daughter, and last member of the original family still with stake in the company Maurizio Gucci. And with his death, the Gucci name became a brand and only a brand.
The respected and revered dynasty dead. Killed by a woman who thought she was too good for the comfortable life her father was providing her.
I think when we talk about stories like this, it can be difficult to care. The Guccis were insanely wealthy. They had a social status no one you'll ever meet had. They wanted for little and had faced zero adversity. But its important to remember that they were still people who unfortunately fell to the same plague we in the lower classes have to face.
Our common enemy and the greatest villains of all time: white women.
Cinematography: interesting, flashy, ultimately forgettable
Performances: Good all around. Adam Driver is the stand out.
Score: song choice was odd and on the nose
Length: way too long. This movie FUCKING drags.
Final Rating: 7/10