The Gucci family is joining other moviegoers who were disappointed by the latest crime epic from Ridley Scott, House Of Gucci. Failing to reach the camp heights promised by its trailers and Jared Leto’s makeup, House Of Gucci landed with something of a thud for critics hoping for an American Crime Story-esque retelling of the recent past. “You’d have to squint pretty hard to see a howling high-camp romp in House Of Gucci,” wrote The A.V. Club’s Katie Rife. “Instead, what we get is a fact-based family melodrama, and a rather meandering one at that.”
The Gucci family, which the movie is ostensibly about, wasn’t too big on the picture, either. Though not so much for lack of entertainment value. In a letter published by the Italian news agency ASNA and translated by Variety, the Guccis take issue with the film’s depiction of Aldo Gucci, played by Al Pacino in the movie, and “the members of the Gucci family as thugs, ignorant and insensitive to the world around them.”
House Of Gucci follows the plot to and fall out from Patrizia Reggiani hiring a hitman to kill her then-husband Maurizio Gucci, who Lady Gaga and Adam Driver portray in the film. The family claims that the producers “did not bother to consult the heirs,” in turn hurting the brand, the real victim in all this. “This is extremely painful from a human point of view and an insult to the legacy on which the brand is built today,” the letter states.
The letter also criticizes the movie for failing to mention what an inclusive place the Gucci corporation was in the 1980s, the kind of place where a woman can hire a man to murder her husband. “Over the course of its 70-year history, during which it was a family business, Gucci was an inclusive company,” the letter states. “Indeed, precisely in the 1980s – the historical context in which the film is set – women were in several top positions: whether they were members of the family or extraneous to it.”
Of course, they didn’t really like Gaga’s Patrizia either, which they saw as lionizing the woman who had their relative killed, which seems fair.
Even more objectionable is the reconstruction that becomes mystifying almost to the point of paradox when gets to the point of suggesting an indulgent tone towards a woman who, definitively convicted of having been the instigator of the murder of Maurizio Gucci, is painted not only in the film, but also in the statements made by cast members, as a victim who was trying to survive in a masculine and macho corporate culture.
As for Ridley Scott, who’s been on a sprawling publicity tour for an 82-year-old director who released two massive movies this year, he doesn’t seem to give a shit, burning through the Guccis’ complaints like so many millennials refusing to see The Last Duel. After being criticized by the real Patrizia Gucci for “stealing the identity of a family to make a profit,” Scott expressed his disinterest in dealing with the family.
“I don’t engage with that,” Scott told BBC Radio last week. “You have to remember that one Gucci was murdered and another went to jail for tax evasion, so you can’t be talking to me about making a profit. As soon as you do that you become part of the public domain.”
We’re not sure if that’s actually how the public domain works, but we also don’t want to cross Ridley Scott, so we’ll just leave it at that.
Update, 12/1/21: Ridley Scott has responded to the Guccis’ statement, and, yup, this guy doesn’t give a shit what they think. In fact, he thinks the Gucci family “should be so fucking lucky” to have Al Pacino in the movie. Speaking to the Total Film podcast, he said:
[T]he people that were writing from the family to us at the onset were alarmingly insulting, saying that Al Pacino did not represent physically Aldo Gucci in any shape or form. And yet, frankly, how could they be better represented than by Al Pacino? Excuse me! You probably have the best actors in the world, you should be so fucking lucky.