Being the Ricardos is an American biographical film written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, undoubtedly one of the best screenwriters of today to be awarded an Oscar for a film The Social Network and who debuted as a director in his last film The Trial of the Chicago 7. The film was produced by the company Amazon, which, after a short cinema distribution, placed it on the Amazon Prime two days ago.
Being the Ricardos movie review and plot
The plot of the film follows a turbulent week in the lives of Lucille Ball (Nicole Kidman) and Desi Arnez (Javier Bardem), a married couple who had their own mega-popular, revolutionary television sitcom I Love Lucy in the early 1950s. This working week will not be reserved only for filming one of the episodes, as the couple is facing a series of crises that include rumors of Desi’s infidelity, a congressional investigation into Lucilla’s ties to communists, and her pregnancy, which could ruin the series. showing a pregnant woman on television was a cultural taboo.
Aaron Sorkin gives us a lot in his script. First of all, we get an insight into the complex romantic and professional relationship of this couple and the reasons why their marriage became so tense. He introduces us to the mechanics of producing a weekly comedy series, takes us to a room for writers who have worked on dialogues, and follows the conflicts and moments of inspiration that occur in the creative process. In several scenes of flashbacks, he gives us more important details from Lucilla’s biography, and in the background we have a political panic from the Cold War era in which a climate of fear and doubt could turn its attention to anyone with unforeseeable consequences.
Although it deals with people who have become comic icons of their time, this film is not too funny and the actors do not have the opportunity to show us why their characters were so popular because of their comedy. I believe that this is Sorkin’s point that making a good comedy is a difficult job, especially while political scandals and marital dissatisfaction are happening behind the scenes. Although Lucille relatively trusts her husband and that Desi has her own explanations, marital problems are the driving issues of this film. As for the team that worked on the series, TV network managers and sponsors, they could easily fit into a separate film.
I love Sorkin’s scripts because of his quick dialogues and extensive monologues, which he complements with the walk and talk storytelling technique. These sequences consist of single, longer shots that include multiple characters of the participants in the conversation as they move through the set, and the characters enter and exit the conversation as the recording continues without any cuts. However, Being the Ricardos is a classic case of a film that wants to say a lot, but in which the author fails to find a way to tell a cohesive story within this pile of ideas, characters, relationships and intentions.
Sorkin as a director does not have as much reputation as a screenwriter and in this film he demonstrates both excellent and weaker solutions. For example, I didn’t like it because in several scenes he used older versions of certain characters who talk about events from his own perspective, which is quite unnecessarily distracting. On the other hand, I liked that he used black and white technique to present Lucilla’s creative process in which he rewrote certain scenes or sentences from the dialogue. Nicole Kidman has suffered some criticism because she does not look like Lucille Bol, but she is more than good here, although my best is JK Simons, who has never made an inconspicuous performance in his career.
Being the Ricardos is a complex biographical work about a married couple of television icons in which Aaron Sorkin once again demonstrates his talent for penetrating, fast, hyperintellectual dialogues – a relatively entertaining film with too many unrelated parts that fail to form a single, cohesive whole. Final rating: 7/10
Being the Ricardos movie cast and characters
- Nicole Kidman as Lucille Ball
- Javier Bardem as Desi Arnaz
- J. K. Simmons as William Frawley
- Nina Arianda as Vivian Vance
- Tony Hale as Jess Oppenheimer
- John Rubinstein as older Jess
- Alia Shawkat as Madelyn Pugh
- Linda Lavin as older Madelyn
- Jake Lacy as Bob Carroll Jr.
- Ronny Cox as older Bob
- Clark Gregg as Howard Wenke
- Nelson Franklin as Joe Strickland
- Robert Pine
- Christopher Denham as Donald Glass
- Jonah Platt as Tip Tribby