With this juicy, delicious drama, director Ridley Scott proves it's always in fashion to expose the ugliness in beautiful things. The Gucci story is a take on the Cinderella fairy tale: The handsome heir in a family of wealth, power, and influence defies his father to marry a loving but low-status girl. The story is told through the perspective of that girl, Patrizia, which helps viewers appreciate what it would be like to wake up one morning and have it all: a loving family, an exciting social calendar, a life ensconced in jaw-dropping luxury. It's gleefully fun, but there's no happily ever after. Gaga demonstrates again that's she's a mesmerizing acting phenom. As Patrizia, she's adorable, sexy, smart, and almost uncomfortably relatable. Driver balances her larger-than-life presence with an understated performance, allowing viewers to understand why reserved and socially awkward Maurizio is drawn to her. Patrizia is big, bold, and manipulative; Maurizio is quiet and intellectual and compartmentalizes his emotions. Scott deftly exposes that these two personality types were a toxic combination: It was inevitable that their romantic sparks would grow into a five-alarm fire, burning everything to the ground.
Nearly all of the actors in House of Gucci are American, putting on Italian accents -- Gaga and Driver pretty believably, but virtually unrecognizable co-star Jared Leto is more ridiculous. As Paolo Gucci, he's a caricature so off the wall that it sucks you out of the film. But he's also the comic relief and is likely to keep teen viewers engaged. And the dialogue crackles with quotable lines, particularly insults. All of that said, the revelry, excess, and sizzling slams only go so far; listening to men in suits talk shop is enough to make anyone's mind wander, and at two hours and 38 minutes, we feel the drag. And then it's like Scott picks up on our boredom and applies the gas to get to the shocking conclusion, rushing crucial character development. House of Gucci is enthralling when we're immersed in a moving, breathing issue of Vogue, but we needed it to end like Psychology Today; instead, we're tossed the dog-eared pages of a National Enquirer.