Film Review – Being the Ricardos (2021)

Title – Being the Ricardos (2021)

Director – Aaron Sorkin (Molly’s Game

Cast – Nicole Kidman, Javier Bardem, J.K. Simmons, Nina Arianda

Plot – Follows the plight of stars of the hit TV show I Love Lucy, Lucille Ball (Kidman) and Desi Arnaz (Bardem) as they battle the studio with their demands after Lucille finds out she is pregnant and also after reports suggest she is a communist. 

“And when can we expect you to be funny?”

Review by Eddie on 21/03/2022

Now three feature films into his directional career, it’s safe to say that renowned screenwriter/playwright Aaron Sorkin is better off staying creating works for others rather than doing it all himself. 

With his debut Molly’s Game being tolerable if utterly unremarkable, The Trial of the Chicago 7 being good without lingering in the memory and now his Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz dramatization Being the Ricardos being consistently dull, Sorkin’s incredible way with words and creating tension from the smallest of moments has not translated into his work as a director, never more so evident than in his Amazon backed effort here that may appear prestigious on face value but provides very little of that in its two hour plus runtime. 

Based in part on true life occurrences but taking much liberty in creating more Hollywoodized moments that more than embellish the truth, Ricardos sees Sorkin explore a key week in the life of American TV icons and couple Ball and Arnaz as they battle to clear Lucille’s name and reputation after being called out on radio as being a communist while also battling their TV executives and their up and down relationship woes at the same time. 

Failing to add an ounce of flair or spark to his pedestrian storytelling, even if attempts to play with time lines and introduce some odd documentary like moments of reflections on the past show that Sorkin at least thought about doing something a little outside the box, Ricardo’s most valiant attempts at creating movie magic come from the lead turns of Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem, with the award winning actors giving it a red hot go in a film that seems for all attempts and purposes happy in its dullness. 

Likely to have a chance at snaring another Best Actress Oscar at the soon to be held Academy Awards, Australian darling Kidman is as notable as she’s been in years here as the comedic icon Ball and even if she’s been far better in previous roles in a rather so-so year for outstanding lead turns her committed and well thought out performance is a shining light in the film while the always reliable Bardem makes for a charming incarnation of Arnaz who was undoubtedly a complicated real life figure. 

Somewhere in this story is a no doubt intriguing exploration of iconic TV persona’s, an inside look into one of the biggest television properties of all time and a dive into a changing time and place of Hollywood but Sorkin is unable to balance his narrative in a way that creates a satisfying whole rather an effort that at days end is neither exciting, smart enough or interesting to give a second thought to. 

Final Say – 

Likely to continue to gain attention thanks to its two lead performances, Being the Ricardo’s is Sorkin’s blandest films yet as a director and arguably his most forgettable as a writer, with one hoping the generational talent gets back on track soon after a few years of ups and downs. 

2 scene rehearsals out of 5  

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