When photos of Adam Driver and Lady Gaga as Maurizio Gucci and Patrizia Reggiani, respectively, first hit the internet in March, House of Gucci became one of the buzziest films of 2021. Now that the movie’s finally hit theaters, it’s time to ask: Did it live up to the hype?
1. What is your tweet-length review of House of Gucci?
Alison Herman: The Italians are not all right, and neither are mid-budget adult dramas.
Bridget Geerlings: I have a lot to say, but I mostly want to know whether any bakery near me can re-create Aldo’s 70th birthday cake. That was truly the biggest cake I have ever seen in my life.
Andrew Gruttadaro: A movie about an iconic Italian family that was taken down by idiot sons and a successful assassination … that’s somehow kind of boring.
David Lara: The only thing thicker than Lady Gaga’s “Italian” accent is Patrizia Reggiani’s lust for money.
Justin Sayles: Twenty degrees to the left, it’s The Room with better clothes. Twenty degrees to the right, it’s The Godfather with terrible accents. Instead, it’s in the middle, which it turns out is kinda … boof.
Alyssa Bereznak: Sometimes it’s just fun to watch a bunch of famous people put on elaborate wigs and yell at each other. The appeal of this movie isn’t any more complicated than that.
2. What was the best moment of the film?
Lara: It has to be the mini dance party between Lady Gaga and Jared Leto.
Sayles: When Jared Leto screamed and it cut to a car horn honking, I felt that in my soul.
Herman: I’m a simple woman with simple tastes, so: Lady Gaga getting, er, pile-driven by Adam Driver. (Honorable mention: Jared Leto’s chocolate/shit speech.)
Gruttadaro: The sex scene—in which Adam Driver’s Maurizio keeps his massive glasses on—is one of the only moments when the movie veers into the absurd land it should’ve lived in the entire time. But I also liked when Al Pacino’s Aldo and Jared Leto’s Paolo cried profusely into each other’s shoulders.
Bereznak: Paolo Gucci groveling at his dad’s feet as he picks him up from jail. Stooges-level bumbling.
Geerlings: Any scene with Aldo and Paolo were my favorite moments. I particularly appreciated the scene when Aldo finds out Paolo decided to sell his shares and yells, “I’M DEAD!” They are my new favorite duo and I only wish Project Runway existed back in the ’90s so that Paolo could have been a contestant who was eliminated immediately.
3. What was your least favorite part of the movie?
For the entirety of House or Gucci I thought Salma Hayek’s character was a Tyler Durden situation— Andrew Gruttadaro (@andrewgrutt) November 25, 2021
Geerlings: As someone with incredibly bad eyesight, it hurt my stomach every time Patrizia casually threw Maurizio’s glasses across the room.
Bereznak: The dissolution of Maurizio and Patrizia’s marriage was pretty abrupt and dissatisfying. But that might have to do with the fact that there was hardly any real character development in this film.
Herman: How little it seemed to understand the pure trash appeal of its own story. Why was the color palette so muted, dulling a story about blingy excess? Why was the running time so long, sapping what giddy lunacy there is of its momentum? Why do we spend so much time on Maurizio and Patrizia’s relationship, but so little explaining exactly how it went wrong? There’s a lot to like in House of Gucci—or, more importantly, hoot and holler at—but all of that seems to be there despite its direction and script, not because of them. This could’ve been truly transcendent. Instead it’s just fun but hugely flawed.
Lara: When Jared Leto and Al Pacino sold their shares of Gucci, because that meant they weren’t going to be in the rest of the movie.
Sayles: I can tell everything I need to know about a person by how they react to Leto’s “drop-a the soap-a!” line read.
4. Who has the best accent in House of Gucci?
Geerlings: Jared Leto’s singsong Christopher Walken voice wins that competition.
jared leto in house of gucci gave us the “it’s a me mario” accent chris pratt never will— alyssa bereznak (@alyssabereznak) November 27, 2021
Sayles: It’s Leto’s Depressed Luigi, but special consideration goes to Jeremy Irons’s British accent, which appears more frequently than his Italian one.
Lara: It has to be Lady Gaga, but if I’m picking second place it’s Jared Leto.
Herman: I’ve had Gaga’s line reading of “father, son, and HAUS of GOOCH-i” in my head for a week straight. Her accent may be more Russian than Italian, but who needs authenticity anyway?
Gruttadaro: Experts are saying Jared Leto, which I absolutely cannot endorse. Therefore I will go with Al Pacino, who doesn’t exactly sound like Giuseppe from The Great British Baking Show, but at least doesn’t sound like Gaga’s Russian-lite or Leto’s “I’m doing a screen test for the new Mario Bros. adaptation.”
5. Finish the sentence: “Lady Gaga is …”
Lara: ... an Italian goddess!
Sayles: … two-for-two in picking starring roles that play to her strengths. She’s gonna fuck around and win an Oscar one day.
Gruttadaro: … always going to try so freaking hard. Whether it completely works or not is less consistent.
Geerlings: … sleeping soundly at night knowing she will absolutely win an Oscar in a few months.
Herman: … doing her best to have Madonna’s movie career, passing the torch from one Italian American pop star to another. She probably thought this was her Evita; it’s more like her Dick Tracy.
Bereznak: … so passionately committed to Method acting that I will forgive the fact that, per her dialogue coach, her accent was “more Russian than Italian.”
6. Pick the best fit in House of Gucci.
Gruttadaro: Jeremy Irons withering away on an Italian porch, wearing a Lenny Kravitz–sized Italian scarf.
Sayles: Adam Driver looked resplendent throughout, but days later, I’m still thinking about Gaga’s wine-colored snowsuit.
Bereznak: The evil red ski suit Patrizia wears to tell Maurizio’s new love interest to back off. It had a touch of “stupid sexy Flanders” to it.
Herman: First, I have to complain about how little this movie—which is theoretically about fashion—makes of its characters’ fashion choices! We barely understand who Tom Ford even is, let alone why his designs had such a transformative impact on Gucci and its industry. That said, I did love the way Adam Driver as Maurizio Gucci elegantly tucks his pants before going on his fateful final bike ride. The man may not have had any idea how to run a global empire, but he had practical elegance on lock!
Geerlings: Paolo’s ’80s windbreaker is better than any Met Gala outfit Jared Leto has ever worn.
7. In his review of the movie, Adam Nayman wrote that Jared Leto “deserves an Oscar or should be sent to the Hague.” Which is it?
Gruttadaro: I … think it’s the first one? Somehow?? He’s the only thing in this movie worth writing home about???
Sayles: Leto was the only person who fully understood the assignment, for better or for worse. We should all aspire to commit to something as fully as he did this role.
Lara: He deserves an Oscar for his transformation alone. Plus, he was “snorting lines of arrabbiata” for this.
Herman: The beauty of this performance is that it transcends such simple binaries as “good” and “bad.” I got more joy out of Leto’s bizarre bits than anything else in the movie, and wish the rest of the cast had risen to his level of true absurdity. I’d ask the ICC for a pardon.
Geerlings: I’ll have an answer for you after I attempt a 12-day silent meditation retreat in the middle of the desert.
Bereznak: I would simply like him to replace Chris Pratt in the forthcoming live-action Mario movie.
8. Is House of Gucci camp?
Lara: Not at all. Ridley Scott doesn’t make camp.
Herman: There are bits of camp floating around inside this movie, looking for a director who knows what to do with them. Unfortunately, Ridley Scott wasn’t it.
Sayles: It desperately wants to be, but instead it occupies this strange liminal space between camp and prestige. Perhaps it’s elevated camp?
Bereznak: Let’s see:
- Lady Gaga in lace, silk, and fur
- Jared Leto claiming he Method-acted so hard that he became one with Italian cuisine
- Adam Driver knocking very special meats into the sky to show displeasure over accidentally losing control of a family empire
- Each of them reaching for wildly different regional accents in the process
… honey, that’s camp.
Geerlings: Call it whatever you want. I just want a musical next.
Gruttadaro: The paparazzi photos are. The movie, sadly, is not.
9. Will “Millennians” like House of Gucci or The Last Duel more?
Bereznak: [Consults cellphone.]
Herman: House of Gucci has more memes for us to send with our “fucking cellphones.” It’s no contest.
Gruttadaro: The meme potential for House of Gucci is off the charts. Somehow, Ben Affleck in a blond goatee saying “now take off your pants” didn’t explode on Twitter.
Lara: Only one of these movies is about fashion and has Lady Gaga in Italy trying to take over her husband’s fashion empire.
Geerlings: Considering that Paolo Gucci will be the hottest Halloween costume of 2022, I will have to go with House of Gucci on this one.
Sayles: Haven’t seen one Last Duel meme yet, but my hero Americana at Brand Memes is dropping HOG bangers. As always, the market decides.