- Film & TV
- 23 Nov 21
The ever-brilliant Lady Gaga (real name Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta) displays her incredible, adaptable acting skills in Ridley Scott's House of Gucci. The lush drama lands in cinemas this Friday.
Wanna go see House of Gucci? Sometimes, when you realise that a movie is two-and-a-half hours long, you can't help but groan a little bit. You wonder how you're going to pay attention, avoid going to the bathroom and refrain from falling asleep after a long day – all at the same time!
Then again - there's House of Gucci. Time flies – I won't say literally but you know what I mean – while watching this latest 150-minute Ridley Scott magnum opus.
The film – which follows Patrizia Reggiani, portrayed by the incredibly brilliant and enormously talented Lady Gaga, as she marries into the Gucci family in the late '70s – is an intriguing and ultimately moving look into the intersection of love, family and business. The "Gucci" name itself is one that's synonymous with elegance, refinement and wealth. Often, however, the most outwardly perfect institutions – and indeed people – have the darkest histories.
One of the main takeaways from the film is the exceptional quality Lady Gaga's acting. The film becomes a showcase for the extraordinary range of her talent as the central character in House of Gucci evolves – beginning as a somewhat ditzy young woman, before transforming into a wealth-obsessed member of the Gucci family and ending, finally, as a deeply wounded, scorned lover. On screen, Gaga is effervescent, charming and alluring, but also capable of conveyin real emotional depth – confirming her ability as an actor and not just a pop music icon. She is said to have spoken in her Italian accent (with a Russian-sounding twang, albeit) for all of nine months to get into character, and also apparently studied panthers to embrace pouncing and seduction techniques. Whatever gets you that Oscar, Gaga! The result is a remarkable performance.
If Gaga stands out, she is not the only cast member to make a major impression. Leading man Adam Driver, who plays Maurizio Gucci, captivates with his almost boyish charm. His character begins as an awkward, inexperienced law student, but he soon assumes the power that comes with the Gucci name.
Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons and Jared Leto also put in impressive shifts as members of the Gucci family, entrenched in the familial politics of the business. Leto in particular is nearly unrecognisable, taking on a type of role no one has ever seen him do before. His character, the eccentric designer Paolo Gucci, acts as the comic relief at times, though the effect is that the audience can't help but feel pity for him. Certainly that was the effect on me.
Overall, director Ridley Scott weaves a cinematic spell with characteristic dazzling effect. The glitz and the glamour of Gucci are rendered so attractive – on the surface at least – that the audience understands why Patrizia craves the status, power and profit. It's a story that has been told before – an outsider joining an established business only to be consumed by the prevailing greed – but seldom has it been depicted so powerfully. The authenticity – and the talent harnessed so effectively by Scott – gives it emotional heft and makes it feel anything but predictable. House of Gucci is a hugely compelling portrayal of flawed human nature and the traps that naked self-interest can lure us towards – all while telling the origin story of one of the best known and most prestigious fashion brands in the world.
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Watch House of Gucci in cinemas this Friday, November 26th.
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