I went into this movie having no idea what to expect. I will admit I was drawn exclusively to the film based on superficial attributes, namely the all-star cast along with some of the clips in the trailer. I sat in the theater completely blind.
I don’t feel like it is fair to call anything in this movie a spoiler as it is based on a true story. That being said I will shy away from talking about the specifics in the film. Rather I will focus on the things I took away from the movie. It is no secret the cast is phenomenal. Every single actor in this movie, including my beloved Gaga, knocks it out of the park with AAA performances.
The acting is not all the movie has going for it. I was expecting more of a rags-to-riches story involving the founding of the Gucci brand, that is no the case here. Admittedly I knew little of the events or even the company itself before going into this film. I left the theater satisfied with what I saw. That being said I can offer some complaints.
The most attractive characteristic of the film is the acting. Every performance in the film will leave the viewer wanting more from these highly talented professionals. While it isn’t Lady Gaga’s first time in a film, she absolutely stole the show here. The next aspect of the film that made it a blast to behold was all the beautiful scenery. It takes place following one of the richest families on the planet. We see the extravagance of their lives unfold. The movie moves at a slow but steady pace allowing the audience to soak up those fantastic performances while also admiring the breath taking scenery. Beyond that the film does offer an interesting insight into the behind-the-scene of a fashion empire that is worth billions today.
There are very few moments that will take you out of the picture. The most obvious gripe I could lob at the film is how it spends the entire first two thirds making you fall for and root for Lady Gaga who’s character turns out to be unworthy of that admiration towards the end of the film. By the time we get to the climactic event that wraps the film we’ve had to fall in love with, then grow to hate her character in a very short time. The transformation unfolds before our eyes but is portrayed in a way that attempts to portray the woman as a victim rather than the criminal she turned out to be.
At it’s core this movie is equal parts tragic love story, equal parts docudrama looking into the rise of a fashion empire. As for the story itself the movie drags a little. It starts in the late 1970’s Italy. It drags it’s feet through the 80’s before wrapping up in the middle of 1997. It doesn’t feel rushed at all despite the amount of time the film spans. It certainly makes you feel like time is passing.
The movie is long. Clocking in at 2 hours and 38 minutes the movie does feel like it begins to drag a little towards the end. I nearly fell asleep during a late part in the movie just before it got exciting. That isn’t to say the movie’s drama near the end is the best part. The love story that dominates the first two thirds of the film make it worth viewing all it’s own. The tragic ending makes that love story all the more intriguing. However by the time we get to the thrilling climax we’ve already come to see the characters we fell in love with as monsters. The movie reminds the audience that even good people can turn evil.
Greed is another theme that runs rampant throughout the film. It is obvious the individuals behind the scenes running the company were all fighting over their own piece of the very lucrative pie. The movie wastes no time at all demonstrating the extravagance the family exhibits in their daily lives.
The ups of the movie are the fabulous cast, the beautiful scenery, the intriguing tragic love story and the peek behind the curtain of a well known fashion empire. The only downside to the film is the length. Overall pacing is fine for the majority of the film yet it drags slightly in the middle third before the climax. It doesn’t leave the audience without reward of those amazing performances even during the slow parts. It would have helped had I not gone to the film when I was tired and craving a nap. I nearly nodded off a couple of times in the middle.
By the time we get to the end you are more likely mourning the fairy tale romance the two main characters sacrificed for greed rather than the fate that befalls each tragic character by the end. I keep saying tragic despite the portrayal these are super rich capitalists flaunting their wealth and greed every chance they get. That being said it does attempt to humanize individuals nearly no one in the audience will related to as a result.
I rate the movie 3.5 out of 5 stars. Above average for sure. Not a great film but not a bad film. It could have been a little better had they trimmed 45 minutes off the run time. The movie has a hard time deciding if it is a romantic fairy tale or a crime drama, it tries to balance the two unsuccessfully. It has it’s moments and is well worth the time it would take to watch but it is absolutely a single watch then move on type of flick. Beyond the performances only movie snobs will find a reason to revisit the film. Thus it is worth a watch but not worthy of repeat viewings. I was happy I saw it but won’t be seeing it again.