NEW ON AMAZON PRIME! My first feeling on Aaron Sorkin‘s Being the Ricardos is that this is not the film that I expected. In other words, it’s not your type biopic, which is frankly refreshing. I wasn’t on the Sorkin train until The Chicago 7 trial, and his take on the Lucy / Desi story only strengthens my respect for this man’s handwriting.
Being the Ricardos takes place in a single week of preparation for an episode of the iconic TV show, I love lucy. This week is incredibly stressful because a gossip story about Lucille Ball (Nicole kidman) is about to declare that she is a communist – a fact little known but true. Exploring the characters of Lucy and Desi, Sorkin echoes the adage that there is no better way to know a person than to put them under high pressure.
I love lucy is in a season or two, so the sponsor and the network haven’t been 100% behind the show yet. The pressure is mounting because being labeled as a communist would end the show. We soon find out that Lucy is pregnant, but the network will not allow her to make her pregnancy a part of the story. On set, there’s a typical tension between the writers struggling to get live episodes out every week and the discord with William Frawley (Jk simmons) and Vivian Vance (Nina Arianda), who hates playing Lucy’s “ugly” friend. If that wasn’t enough, there is Desi (Javier bardem), who must continue to prove that he is loyal and faithful to his actress wife.
“… A gossip story about Lucille Ball is about to come out, claiming that she is a communist… “
Sure, Being the Ricardos is still a biopic. The current story is interrupted by flashbacks to how Lucy and Desi met and fell in love. We also see her struggle to become a prominent woman and her dominance as the number one TV star in the world.
Let’s answer the most urgent questions. No, Nicole Kidman does not make an impression of Lucy. The actors, for the most part, look and resemble each other. The only impressions the actors make are while filming I love lucy. Nicole looks more like Nicole, and Javier Bardem is NOT Desi Arnez (ugh). The lack of extensive makeup allows the actors to focus on their characters, which is where the film shines.
Sorkin focuses on Lucy, Desi, William and Vivian. They are a loving couple forced to face the pressures of Hollywood and stay off the sheets and gossip magazines. It’s about a self-motivated woman and her insistence on making the comedy perfect, even if it means sounding like a bully. Politically, it highlights how hard women had to fight to be successful and how Lucy got what she wanted only because she got the grades and sold a lot of cigarettes for Phillip Morris.