In Caustic Review, Tom Ford Slams 'House of Gucci'

Tuesday November 30, 2021

Tom Ford
Tom Ford  (Source:Associated Press)

"I recently survived a screening of the two-hour-and-37-minute film that is 'House of Gucci,' " writes fashion giant and film director Tom Ford about Ridley Scott's biopic in a caustic review published on the website AirMail. "I often laughed out loud, but was I supposed to?"

The 61-year-old Ford is also a character in the film, played by Reeve Carney, who appears towards the end when he was hired by the firm in 1990 and was instrumental in turning around the family's fortunes. In 2009, he turned his attention to directing films, first with the highly acclaimed "A Single Man," followed by the dark thriller "Nocturnal Animals" in 2015.

In his review, he includes a personal note: "I must preface my thoughts by stating that my opinion is perhaps biased. I knew Maurizio Gucci well and worked with him for four of the years that are covered in this film. He was murdered on the morning of March 27, 1995, just steps away from my office in Milan."

He adds that he knew other principals in the story as well, which follows the fight for ownership of the fashion brand, as well as the plot to kill Maurizio Gucci. This made it difficult to "divorce reality from the glossy, heavily lacquered soap opera that I witnessed on-screen. As with most films based on a true story, facts are altered, characters are exaggerated, timelines warped — and, in the end, who cares as long as these alterations yield a great movie?"

He feels the film didn't do the colorful Maurizio justice. "He could be incredibly charming and surprisingly sexy if you caught him when he was relaxed. He had a true vision for the company but had a hard time focusing. He was mercurial. He would be in a meeting, slip into the bathroom, and come back a completely different person."

Ford also suggests that Maurizio may have been gay. "He was straight as far as I know, but would spend hours in the afternoons locked in his office with his decorator and often disappeared for weeks at a time on his boat with the man."

He calls Adam Driver's performance as Maurizio "subtle and nuanced," calling him "the calm in the eye of the storm that swirls around him as his fellow actors all battle to see who can chew up the most scenery. At times, when Al Pacino, as Aldo Gucci, and Jared Leto, as Aldo's son Paolo Gucci, were on-screen, I was not completely sure that I wasn't watching a 'Saturday Night Live' version of the tale... Leto's brilliance as an actor is literally buried under latex prosthetics. Both performers are given license to be absolute hams — and not of the prosciutto variety."

And while he says the film as a whole reminded him of the 1980s soap "Dynasty," he had nothing but praise for Lady Gaga. "But the true star of the film for me is Gaga. It is her film, and she steals the show. In her often over-the-top portrayal of Patrizia Gucci, her accent migrates occasionally from Milan to Moscow. But who cares? Her performance is spot-on. Her face is the thing that one can't take one's eyes off of. When she is on-screen, she owns the frame — not an easy task with so many seasoned and talented cast members vying for our attention. Too many, in fact."

Interestingly, he doesn't mention actor Carney's impersonation of him.