Director and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin encapsulate a strand of flashbacks and flash-forwards as Lucille Ball (Nicole Kidman) and Desi Arnaz (Javier Bardem) navigate a busy week of “I Love Lucy”s production in “Being The Ricardos”.
Sorkin starts with Ball and Arnaz entering the Monday table read of script with staff writers to get the show ready for the regular Friday taping. He then piles on behind-the-scene events as Ball confronts her membership of the Communist Party, the announcement of her pregnancy, and a sneaking suspicion of Arnaz’s philandering. The film is packed with conflicts that put Ball on the brink of collapse in both career and marriage.
The film title is a bit misleading because the film decidedly highlights the pivotal moments of Ball and Arnaz instead of the sitcom couples. Sorkin has said that he is not aiming anything toward the slapstick comedy “I Love Lucy”, save for a peep at the iconic grape-stomping scene. His script, as Bardem clarifies, is “a love letter to two resilient, creative human beings dealing with serious problems and trying to remain united”.
While Kidman and Bardem are not exactly the splitting images of Ball and Arnaz, they both seem to embody their spirit and mannerism. The duo’s unfailing charisma and acting chops are always very watchable with seamlessly executed scenes. With Sorkin-Esque intricate detail, dialogue-filled scenes, and fast-talking pace, their chemistry is off the charts from their first scene together to the last.
Despite negative rumblings about Sorkin’s storytelling and direction, the casting proves that there’s more to channeling a real-life icon than simply impersonating them.
Director: Aaron Sorkin
Writer: Aaron Sorkin
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Javier Bardem, J.K. Simmons, Alia Shawkat, Nina Arianda, Tony Hale, Clark Gregg, Jake Lacy
Release Date: December 10 in US theaters and December 21 on Amazon Prime