While the film occasionally reaches its narrative potential after an intriguing setup, it never fully rises above certain disappointing paces.
Written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, Being the ricardos focuses its attention on Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, the actors who played Lucy and Ricky Ricardo in the hit 1950s sitcom. I love lucy. Set in the 1950s, Sorkin ranks one of the most tumultuous periods in the couple’s lives, tackling their marriage problems and the external factors that could have derailed their careers at the height of their sitcom’s popularity. Being the ricardos it’s fast paced and bolstered by good enough performances, but lacks the vitality to keep it going. While the film occasionally reaches its narrative potential after an intriguing setup, it never fully rises above certain disappointing paces.
Being the ricardos He opens by immediately introducing his two conflicts. Lucille Ball (Nicole Kidman) and her husband Desi Arnaz (Javier Bardem) are in the middle of an argument over a tabloid story about Desi being seen with another woman. They are also getting hot and heavy off screen, which immediately sets the stage for their passionate yet contentious marriage. After hearing a breaking story on the radio about Lucy registering with the Communist Party in the 1930s, the couple must grapple with the consequences of what the news could mean for I Love Lucy’s future, including the way it affects your partner. -Stars Vivian Vance (Nina Arianda) and William Frawley (JK Simmons), the show’s writers (Alia Shawkat and Jake Lacy), and the studio. The mounting tension affects everyone in different ways as they continue to produce the show, all while Lucy spirals after accusations of Desi’s infidelities.
Sorkin’s snappy dialogue and fast-paced ensure that the story never comes to a halt, but the last third of Being the ricardos It nearly derails much of the setting and goodwill that existed in the first half of the movie. And while Sorkin’s writing is typically animated, his direction here is not. Being the ricardos It doesn’t have enough fuel to keep it going and the momentum it needed to build its intense final moment falls short long before it gets there. This is mainly because the movie aims to tie up all of its loose ends in a neat and nondescript way, ultimately sucking in the air of the story and flattening much of the energy it started with. The movie relies on the audience not knowing much about its main characters, but there is a lack of suspense for those who already know the gist of what happens and how things unfold. To that end, Sorkin relies on the tension of Lucy being a potential communist when that’s the least interesting aspect of the movie.
Regardless, Sorkin achieves a balancing act of interpersonal drama, a past story that threatens to undo Lucy’s career and the process of putting on a show. With the latter, Sorkin sprinkles in moments that highlight just how great comedian Lucille Ball was. As everyone around her is trying to get through the tense week, Lucille de Kidman stands up, her face contorted with concentration as she works to improve the physical comedy of the scene despite protests coming from almost every level. of the production. In silence, Sorkin shows how the timing of the late actress’s comedy was in the details, as she doesn’t imagine what the scene is, but how it could be. Kidman is especially cool right now, although he doesn’t always pull off Ball’s incredible talent for physical comedy. Kidman is more subdued in his body language and it’s hard to be fully engaged with his performance because of that.
Javier Bardem is incredibly charming as Desi Arnaz, but the performances of both leads feel mute, something that reflects the intriguing but disappointing script. However, it is JK Simmons and Nina Arianda who stand out despite having much less material to work with. Arianda’s soulful gaze and overall nuanced performance clearly paint Vivian’s struggles; She is friends with Lucy, but is often overlooked and neglected. The heated exchanges with William de Simmons manage to ignite the spark that is somehow missing between Bardem and Kidman. Vivian tries to hide her pain, but it is written directly on her face for anyone who is paying attention. Sorkin seems vaguely interested in the friendship Lucy and Vivian share, one that is layered and full of respect and tension, though not enough.
Being the ricardos prompts the question: Did Desi really love Lucy? But the movie doesn’t necessarily give an answer, it often treats Arnaz as a stereotype rather than a fully realized person. Sorkin proves how capable and intelligent he is (Desi acts as a producer on I love lucy, but he is not given credit for it), but there are more scenes dedicated to people talking about him than about him speaking for himself. Lucy fights for her husband and he fights for her, but while it is clear that she is interested in the romantic aspect of their relationship and in maintaining her career, Sorkin does not have the same understanding of who Desi is in comparison. However, what the movie does really well is reveal, layer by layer, the constant turbulence that is present in Lucy and Desi’s marriage. It stands out in stark contrast to the perfect picture ratio your characters have on screen. It is in these moments that Sorkin’s script finds its foundation, digging a little deeper before quickly coming back for air.
It’s a shame Being the ricardos it never gets as interesting as the people it focuses on. The film offers enough interpersonal drama to keep audiences staring and intrigued, but as Sorkin’s script steadily progresses toward the end, the story lapses and never builds enough momentum to really impress.
Being the ricardos It opens in limited theaters on Friday, December 10, and will be available to stream on Amazon Prime Video on December 21. The film is 125 minutes long and is rated R for language.