There was a time when Patrizia Reggiani would gaze into a Gucci store window and dream of maybe one day being able to afford the least expensive bauble there.
But she knew it was highly unlikely.
I mean, yeah, her father had his own business, but the twentysomething daughters of trash-truck owners don’t buy Gucci. Even the cheap knock-offs are kinda pricey for her budget. Little did she think that someday she’d get her Gucci without having to spend a dime.
It all came down to one particular evening, one particular party, and one particular barman.
One thing Patrizia has never been in short supply of is pizazz! When she pours herself into a tight, low-cut dress she’s bound to grab attention. And maybe even an invite to hot party in town.
One such dress and one such invite landed her in a club on some unknown socialite’s dime. After a few dances she went up to the open bar to grab some adult refreshment. And though the geeky guy behind the bar declared that he wasn’t a bartender, he went ahead and fixed her a decent martini … and fixed his hungry eyes on her curves.
Just before Patrizia shoved off to head back to her table, she found out the guy’s name: Maurizio Gucci. Yeah, one of those Guccis. And Patrizia was completely sure of his interest.
It just took a little prodding to keep that interest. They met again—completely by chance, mind you—at a nearby campus library, and before you could say Tesoro mio they’re seeing each other and spending delightful afternoons together. And then … delightful nights.
Maurizio’s father, Roldofo, wasn’t very enthused about their dating, thinking that Patrizia was just after Maurizio’s money and the doors the name of Gucci could open. But Maurizio’s pretty date couldn’t help but smile at that.
For Patrizia had come to the understanding that she was the delightful bauble in a store window that Maurizio Gucci gazed at and so desperately longed for. She knew that feeling. And she knew how much you’d give for the pretty things just outside your reach.
No, Patrizia didn’t want the Gucci cachet, she didn’t want money. Patrizia Reggiani wanted everything!
You can see that both Patrizia and Maurizio care about each other, initially. And if they had met under different circumstances, with different settings and families, they might have just been a happy, loving couple.
Patrizia pushes her husband to make moves to better the Gucci business—something that he didn’t really have a great interest in. In truth, those changes could have actually benefitted Maurizio and the Gucci brand. But inner-family politics and entitled attitudes changed all that. (And eventually Patrizia became a manipulative negative force that unraveled the Gucci empire.)
We see Patrizia and Maurizio marry in a large Catholic church.
A depressed Patrizia turns to a TV psychic/fortune teller for insight. Eventually this card-reader becomes a constant in her life, giving her “spiritual” guidance.
Patrizia mockingly crosses herself with the mantra: “Father, Son and House of Gucci.” We see several nuns standing on a street corner. (One of them smokes.)
Patrizia has a predilection for tight, cleavage-boosting dresses. And her physical assets are regularly on display as the camera and passersby ogle her. And once or twice we see her in a bra and panties. We also see some fashion models in skimpy slips and underwear. Patrizia bends over and poses her clothed backside in an effort to grab the attention of a lacivious Aldo Gucci. The move works as planned.
Aldo is also a man of wealth who is regularly seen with beautiful models on his arm. And when he goes to prison later in the film for tax evasion, his son, Paolo, worries about him dropping his soap in the men’s showers.
On several occasions Patrizia lounges in a bubble bath. One time she slips beneath the water—bubbles covering key areas of her body as the camera gazes on. We catch a glimpse of breast nudity.
Early on in their relationship, Patrizia caresses Maurizio as they dance. And on several occasions that shifts into impassioned kissing. On one ocassion, the pair lock themselves away from prying eyes in an office and make love on a desk. He gives her oral sex (outside the camera’s eye) and then stands to have noisy aggressive sex with her—baring her legs and backside in the process. It’s also implied that Patrizia gives Maurizio oral sex as she ducks beneath the dash of a car he’s driving.
After strains appear in their relationship, Maurizio calls for a divorce. He then begins living with a woman he knew from his youth. As steps are taken to “freshen” the Gucci brand, a fashion showcase features male and female runway models showing lots of skin, including men dressed only in leather chaps. (We see some bare backsides.)
A man is approached and shot several times in front of his apartment building. Light bloodiness. The murder is part of a hired hit.
Patrizia is grabbed and slammed up against a wall, her throat squeezed in someone’s grip.
Some 20 f-words and a half-dozen s-words are joined by one or two misuses of God’s name.
People drink and smoke regularly here. In fact, nearly everyone is puffing on a cigarette at one time or another. And regular parties are part of the Gucci lifestyle. We see people drinking beer, martinis, champagne and glasses of booze on ice.
Aldo Gucci’s son, Paolo, considers himself to be a fashion designer. His family members endure his constant pitches for the chance to design. Eventually, his uncle, Roldofo Gucci, makes it clear that he is “talentless and mediocre.” Paolo then urinates on his uncle’s prized possession.
Patrizia pushes Maurizio to betray his family members. Paolo comments about the malodorous state of his “groins.”
There’s no third act.
That’s my assessment of House of Gucci from a pure aesthetics perspective. In spite of the cavalcade of stars in this pic, it’s Lady Gaga’s portrayal of Patrizia Reggiani that takes center stage and drives the film forward. Everyone else tends to overact (Jared Leto, for instance, as Paolo) or underact so completely as to be invisible (Adam Driver as Maurizio).
Then director Scott inexplicably points the camera away from Gaga in the film’s final third. And things. Just. End. With a shrug and little else.
When you take that into account along with the f-word-laden language, grunting sexuality and other nasty bits this film has on display, the whole thing feels far less than pretty. Sorta like a knock-off Gucci purse left out in the rain.
After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.