The scandal-ridden real-life family drama House of Gucci, the latest film from Ridley Scott, the protean director of such classics as Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator and Thelma & Louise, is a thrilling exploration of three decades in the tangled history of the multi-generational Gucci family, a tale of ambition, greed, betrayal and murder.
Gucci is recognized and admired around the globe and was created by the prestigious fashion label’s founder Guccio Gucci, who opened his first quality leather goods store in Florence, Italy exactly one hundred years ago.
The story begins in the late 1970s, at a critical juncture in the famed Italian fashion empire’s history. As the Gucci family’s global reach has broadened so too have hints of financial improprieties, stifled innovation and a cheapening of the brand. The Gucci business is overseen by Guccio Gucci’s two sons, the colorful and wily Aldo (Oscar®-winner Al Pacino) and his more conservative and detached sibling Rodolfo (Oscar®-winner Jeremy Irons).
The tenacious Aldo has no intention of ceding control of the family concern, certainly not to his fanciful son Paolo (Oscar®-winner Jared Leto), who seems more interested in becoming a clothing designer. His brother Rodolfo’s timid and overprotected scion, Maurizio (Oscar® nominee Adam Driver), would prefer to study law than assume the mantle of a global fashion empire.
Then Maurizio meets and falls in love with the beautiful and ambitious Patrizia Reggiani (Oscar® nominee Lady Gaga) and, against his father’s wishes, marries her. Uncle Aldo finds a kinship in the cunning Patrizia and, together, they persuade Maurizio to set aside his legalistic ambitions and join the company, thus becoming the presumptive heir – much to the displeasure of the hapless Paolo, whose design dreams outweigh his talent. For a short time, the bad blood simmers and the various members of the Gucci dynasty are able to co-exist.
But as Gucci rivals threaten to erode their preeminent place in the quality fashion hierarchy, Patrizia goads Maurizio into staging a coup. After inheriting his father’s position in the company, the couple slowly and stealthily seize control of the business.
They connive Paolo into selling his shares by dangling false promises. And with the help with the help of the family’s financial advisor, Domenico De Sole (Jack Huston), shortly after Aldo is released from prison for tax evasion, they buy him out as well.
As sole head of the company, and with a fresh infusion of financing from outside investors, the once hesitant Maurizio begins to revel in his power and the privilege it accrues. Having betrayed his family, he now turns on Patrizia and initiates an affair with a childhood friend Paola Franchie (Camille Cottin).
Her ambitions thwarted and her marriage in tatters, Patrizia becomes panic- stricken and desperate. When Maurizio files for divorce, she forges a dangerous alliance with a crafty psychic, Pina Auriemma (Oscar® nominee Salma Hayek).
Maurizio launches an ambitious plan to revive the Gucci name and reputation by hiring an up- and-coming American designer, Tom Ford (Reeve Carney), a deadly power struggle ensues and Maurizio is besieged on two sides.
By the tenacious Patrizia and by the company’s investors who, abetted by his once trusted advisor, De Sole, attempt to wrest control of the fashion empire from the Gucci family’s hands. Oh what a tangled web we weave When first we practice to deceive.
– Sir Walter Scott