Being the Ricardos Movie Review

I Love Lucy is one of those television programs we have all seen. The antics of wannabe performer Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball) have kept audiences howling with laughter for seventy years.

The new movie, Being the Ricardos, written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, is a biopic that takes audiences into one turbulent week of the personal and professional lives of Ball (Nicole Kidman) and her then-husband, Desi Arnaz (Javier Bardem). While trying to go through the weekly process of putting together a show, issues in Ball and Arnaz’s home lives complicate matters. Lucy is pregnant again and trying to figure out how this change will be worked into the program, if at all. She also suspects that her husband is (again) cheating on her. To make matters infinitely worse, the McCarthy witch hunts have accused her of being a communist. If these allegations are proven true, everything that Lucy and Desi have worked for will be destroyed.

When I originally saw the trailer, I thought that Debra Messing would have been a better choice to play Lucille Ball. I was wrong. Kidman is fantastic in the role. We mostly see the woman behind the iconic role with snippets of her on-screen persona. She is tough, driven, intelligent, and able to succeed in a world dominated by men. Bardem is as close to the real Arnaz as this biopic could have gotten. He does not look like Arnaz, but the spirit of the man and his work is evident in Bardem’s transformation.

One thing that I greatly appreciated is the conversation between Ball and co-writer Madelyn Pugh (Alia Shawkat). Pugh points out that Lucy Ricardo is often infantilized, needing Ricky’s permission as if she was his daughter and not his spouse. The character is both a product of her era and an early feminist, pushing boundaries in a time when the ideal life of a woman was that of a wife and mother.

My main issue is not that Sorkin took liberties with the timeline of events. He is not the first and will not be the last screenwriter to do so. It is that this film is not as good as it could have been. It started to drag in at about the 2/3rds mark. By that point, I was starting to get a little antsy. Is this film entertaining and engaging? I would say so. Is it spectacular? No.

Do I recommend it? I am leaning toward yes.

Being the Ricardos is in theaters and available for streaming on Amazon Prime.

Throwback Thursday- Lucy (Television Movie)-2003

I Love Lucy is one of those television shows. We have all seen (and laughed hysterically) at least one episode. But the image of the happy television marriage of the Ricardo’s was not the exact truth of the lives of the then IRL married actors who played them, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.

The 2003 television movie, Lucy, stars Rachel York as Lucille Ball and Danny Pino as Desi Arnaz. Taking the audience behind the camera to the real lives of actors who would become television icons, the movie tells the story of their stormy marriage and the television show they would create to keep their marriage and their family from falling apart.

As biopics go, this one is not bad. While some biopics try to gloss over the negative traits of their subjects, this one doesn’t. What I like about this movie and the characterization of Lucy and Desi, is that it is simply the story of a couple trying to make their marriage work. Regardless of our marital states, we can all relate to trying to make our relationships work, whether it is with a significant other, a parent, a friend, etc.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

 

I Love Lucy-65 Years And Still Going Strong

This past Saturday, October 15th, marked the 65th anniversary of the premiere of I Love Lucy.

I Love Lucy is and will forever be a classic. There is no one on planet Earth who has not seen or at least heard of I Love Lucy.

The premise of the show is simple: Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball) is a homemaker whose career ambitions go well beyond her apartment door. But her bandleader husband Ricky (Lucille Ball’s then IRL husband, Desi Arnaz) seems to be preventing her from achieving her goals. The results of Lucy trying to start a career at her husband’s behest against her working produced hilarious results. Add in the comedy back up of their landlords Fred and Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance and William Frawley) and there is nothing but comedy gold.

This show is more than iconic and a classic. This show is a trendsetter that still influences television decades after it went off the air. Lucy and Desi created the television industry as we know it to be today. Lucille Ball, in addition to being an icon for many redheads (myself included), was not just the star. She started the studio that produced her show and many other classic television shows. She was clearly the HBIC and respected for her work, in front and behind the camera. Without Lucille Ball, there would be no women in comedy. Carol Burnett, Roseanne, Sarah Silverman, Amy Schumer, Tina Fey, etc, would have never had careers in comedy without Lucy paving the way.

While Lucy meekly agreed at the end of every episode to return to her homemaker status, millions of women and young girls did not meekly agree to just become wives and mothers. That generation of women paved the way for future generations of women to stand up for their rights and their accomplishments.

I Love Lucy also represented the future of the country. It was the first television show to depict an interracial marriage. Quite a feat when the only people of color on television in the 1950’s were household servants.

There is something about turning on the television and putting on a classic that no matter how many times you’ve seen it, it still make you laugh.

Happy Birthday, I Love Lucy. Here is to another 65 years.

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