Photo courtesy United Artists

A true story as wild and salacious as that of the Gucci family practically begs to be made into a movie. In fact, I’m kind of surprised it took as long as it did. 

“House of Gucci” chronicles the fall of the Italian family behind the luxurious and iconic fashion brand with all of the flair and style you could possibly hope for. 

We meet the family in the 1970s through the eyes of Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga), a working-class socialite who meets Maurizio Gucci (Adam Driver) at a party. At this time the company is run by Maurizio’s father Rodolfo (Jeremy Irons) and his uncle Aldo (Al Pacino).

Patrizia and Maurizio fall in love and marry, and even though Maurizio is cool on the family business, Patrizia is seduced by the glamor and power the Gucci name evokes and pushes her husband to take a more active role in management of the company. 

Maurizio is viewed as the most viable heir to head Gucci since Aldo’s son Paolo (an unrecognizable Jared Leto) is a callow screw-up. 

But things go from dysfunctional to deadly as family loyalties are tested and everyone starts to vie for a bigger and bigger piece of the Gucci pie. 

Director Ridley Scott works to make “House of Gucci” as sexy and scandalous as possible while fighting hard to keep the ship steering more towards Shakespearian tragedy and less towards “Days of Our Lives” plotline. 

Greatly helping in this regard is the stellar cast, which you can pretty much just go ahead and start chucking Oscars at until you hit somebody.

Gaga and Driver are outstanding as they give us “Macbeth” dressed in 80s chic and Italian accents. 

Irons is dependably awesome and Pacino, who is enjoying a mini later-career renaissance, is at his charming, scenery-chewing best. 

But we need to talk about Leto. His transformation from one of the most strikingly handsome humans on the planet to a balding, paunchy Paul Giamatti-type is so seamless and so complete it is not only probably the greatest makeup job in cinematic history, it’s like an entirely new human has been created whole cloth out of the ether by nothing more than prosthetics and performance. It’s an impressive achievement to behold. 

“House of Gucci” scratches a lot of itches as we humans love nothing more than seeing attractive people in glamorous locals being punished for their lust for wealth and power. 

This movie delivers the goods and unequivocally proves that when it comes to both fashion and betrayal, you often get what you pay for. 

“House of Gucci” is rated R for language, some sexual content and brief nudity and violence. 

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