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Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem were busy “Being the Ricardos” last Christmas

(Photo courtesy of Amazon Studios) “Being the Ricardos” was released on Dec. 10, 2021.

Harrison Lee
Connector Editor

Whether or not one has seen the show “I Love Lucy”, chances are they have at least heard of it. What many of today’s generation may not know, however, is that the show’s married couple was married off camera as well. This past December, director and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin brought the story of the couple to life in his latest film “Being the Ricardos”, depicting their life beyond the stage of television.

The film follows Lucille Ball, played by Nicole Kidman, and her married life with Desi Arnaz, played by Javier Bardem. Lucille and Desi star as Lucy and Ricky Ricardo of the hit television series “I Love Lucy”. When the pair are not filming in front of a live audience, their lives are anything but comedically perfect. Taking place during one of their most stressful weeks in the 1950s, Lucille finds herself dealing with tabloids about her ties to communism, while Desi deals with a different set of tabloids perpetuating rumors of possible extramarital affairs. Of course, the show must go on, but it doesn’t stop Lucille from openly debating with the production team what has made her and Desi so famous.

For a two-hour feature film that has been nominated for several Golden Globes, “Being the Ricardos” certainly lives up to the acclaim it has since received for storytelling and performance. The overall narrative wraps together nicely. Although, the plot is a bit unorganized in terms of what it wants to focus on. Perhaps Sorkin’s depiction of Lucille’s life is a little overdramatic. Even so, Sorkin’s directing style allows for the limited insight that the audience receives to be quite compelling. The movie certainly illustrates what life was like for those in 1950s show business, while also enlightening viewers on how “I Love Lucy” came to be.

Sorkin shows Lucille’s immense efforts in creating her signature character, and how she pulled off, retaining her Cuban husband for the show during such a challenging period in history. Lucille Ball may have not been an actively open feminist, but this period drama shows her considerable rationale as to why. The meaning is still there in her actions to command and conquer challenges, but unlike other modern films, the themes of gender are not overstated.

This parallels the film’s presentation of many other themes regarding fundamental human qualities and how they stack up against 1950s contemporary social standards. But these concepts also bring a timeless significance that could translate to the same industry today.

Kidman and Bardem both give phenomenal performances as veteran actors, alongside J.K. Simmons, Nina Arianda and Clark Gregg. Kidman undoubtedly deserves the Golden Globe she was given for her nearly synonymous depiction of Lucille Ball. As for Bardem, all the songs he sung as Desi Arnaz truly stand out with a liveliness necessary to set the tone of the film.

Daniel Pemberton’s musical score also contributes to bringing this little realm of 1950s television to life. However, the score does not necessarily provoke a fantasy to indulge in for that period. The soundtrack beautifully matches the struggles and emotions that Lucille dealt with on her journey to becoming the Lucy that everyone loves, while also retaining the truth behind the character that she wished to present to the world.

It is very difficult for a filmmaker to create a note-worthy movie about filmmaking. The concept itself can often come across as Hollywood being self-indulgent. Whether or not that’s the case here, Sorkin’s “Being the Ricardos” is cinematically entertaining enough to be just above movie-bait for critics to praise. There are many good messages sprinkled throughout the film. Still, with many historical inaccuracies throughout, Sorkin’s efforts to primarily prioritize entertainment are evident. While “Being the Ricardos” may not be the most groundbreaking film in its depiction of Hollywood icons, it is still a worthy insight into the lives of the stars behind “I Love Lucy”, and is certainly an entertaining watch.

Grade: B+

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