Being the Ricardos (2021) Review: Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem Save Sorkin’s Convoluted Direction

The bibliographical drama Being the Ricardos (2021) is written and directed by Aaron Sorkin. The film recounts the story of ‘I Love Lucy’ TV stars and Hollywood power couple of the 1950s, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. We have acclaimed actors Nicole Kidman as Lucille Ball and Javier Bardem as Desi Arnaz, along with a supporting cast that includes J. K. Simmons, Nina Arianda, Tony Hale, Alia Shawkat, Jake Lacy, and Clark Gregg. The film has a runtime of 2 hours 12 minutes.

– Amazon Prime’s Being the Ricardos review does not contain spoilers –

Being the Ricardos: Behind the curtains of ‘I Love Lucy’

After the success of The Trial of Chicago 7, Academy Award winner Aaron Sorkin’s Being the Ricardos promised to be another political drama sprinkled with some cracked interpersonal relationships that the audience would fall in love with. Moreover, it is about Lucille Ball, and everyone loves Lucille Ball, right? Yet the film falls short in many places. Being the Ricardos does not disappoint but, it tells you to not always have high hopes when the prominent cast and crew members have been honoured with the Oscars.

The film starts as if aiming to be a documentary-like presentation. We have I Love Lucy staff writers Madelyn Pugh (played by Linda Lavin) and Bob Carroll (played by Ronny Cox) with showrunner Jess Oppenheimer (played by John Rubinstein), offering testimonials about their experience at the set of ‘I Love Lucy’ and the stars of that era to a fictitious camera crew.

Within a couple of minutes, you jump back to the 50s where we find one blow after the other coming at the most popular Hollywood star of all, Lucille Ball. The star is squared for her association with the communist party which taints her reputation and puts immense pressure on her and her show to become out of vogue. As this pressure builds up, Desi Arnaz’s infidelity and Lucille’s controlling nature cracks up their relationship to a point of no repair.

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The story of Being the Ricardos is told over the span of one week of production for ‘I Love Lucy’. It starts from the Monday table read through Friday audience taping the classic episode “Fred and Ethel Fight”. Within this week’s time, Aaron Sorkin spoils us with his impeccable screenplay that has dialogues rolling as easily as breathing oxygen. However, when it comes to the direction and how the film is shot- it gets convoluted, congested and lacks the soul of Lucille Ball, in general.

Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem are the saving grace in this movie and, it is mostly because they are just inherently good actors. At times, the prosthetics seem to hold back Kidman during emotional scenes, but the actress does everything in her power to be the heart and soul of the film. Javier Bardem is stellar in his role too, but how do you escape bad direction right?

Being the Ricardos: Final Verdict

Being the Ricardos could have been a dazzling portrayal of the power couple and the notorious controversy from the 1950s. It could have been a Great Gatsby for another Scott and Zelda, but somehow the fact that the story of Hollywood’s most popular actress is being told by a man restricts its capability and potential to be a good film.

However, you can always watch the film for getting a brief essay of what must have happened to Lucille Ball by streaming the 2021 film Being the Ricardos now on Amazon Prime Video.

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REVIEW OVERVIEW

Overall

SUMMARY

Being the Ricardos transports you to the 1950s and recounts the story of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.

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