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"Being the Ricardos" (2021) | Sam Gall Movie Review Issue #156 Gem Mint 10

Updated: Jan 9, 2022

"Being the Ricardos" (2021)

Director: Aaron Sorkin

Writer: Aaron Sorkin

Starring: Nicole Kidman, Javier Bardem, Nina Arianda, J.K. Simmons, John Rubenstein, Alia Shawkat, Jake Lacy, Tony Hale, Linda Lavin, Ronny Cox, Dana Lyn Baron, Clark Gregg

Rated: R for language

Runtime: 2h 11m

Genre: Biography | Drama

Country: United States

Language: English

Available on: Various VOD platforms / Amazon Prime

"Follows Lucy and Desi as they face a crisis that could end their careers and another that could end their marriage."

You might like this if you like: Biographies, Dramas, 'I Love Lucy', Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Aaron Sorkin, Nicole Kidman, Javier Bardem, Nina Arianda, J.K. Simmons, John Rubenstein, Alia Shawkat, Jake Lacy, Tony Hale, Linda Lavin, Ronny Cox, Dana Lyn Baron, Clark Gregg

Nicole Kidman (left) & Javier Bardem (right) in "Being the Ricardos" (2021)

I’d been wanting to see this one ever since I heard about it. Nicole Kidman was always a favorite and I was excited to see her portrayal of Lucille Ball. I didn’t know what part of her life the story would tell, not that I know a whole lot about her outside of “I Love Lucy”, but I was excited either way to see.

On top of that I’m a big fan of Aaron Sorkin’s work, his masterclass on screenwriting is pretty great and my first Gem Mint 10.0 review was for his film ‘Moneyball’, so getting to him take a stab at something like this was exciting in itself. And he’s directing!

I immediately loved the fake documentary aspect of the film. I should mention I’m a sucker for any movies that are about movies, so I wasn’t that hard of a sell, but I was really intrigued by the quite impressive direction on those documentary bites throughout the film. Added a great flavor, comedic factor, and a unique structure to the film.

Javier Bardem in "Being the Ricardos" (2021)

As a fan of filmmaking, I just loved getting to see the raw and intense, honest table reads, rehearsals and preparation they showed and how Sorkin used the development/pre-production stages as chapter breaks almost for his film, I thought was brilliant. They also happen to be the stages most smaller films tend to forget to do and this really shows us how important planning and collaboration are.

I didn’t know Javier Bardem was playing Desi Arnaz until I started watching (I avoided the trailer beforehand), but really did fall in love with his performance. Might be the first time I really caught the Bardem virus. I always liked him, but never as much as most people did, but wow he just was so much fun to watch.

Now Nicole Kidman was as amazing and beyond as I ever could’ve expected. She really melted into that role quite wonderfully. She’s definitely in my radar for one of the best of the year. I loved how they had it where she always saw the finished product in her head like in the script reading, such a cool element and added so much to her character’s strength and intelligence. She runs this show.

"Being the Ricardos" (2021)

Tony Hale and Alia Shawkat were great to see reunited from ‘Arrested Development’, especially Shawkat who got a much bigger role. Clark Gregg and Jake Lacy were fun to watch. Linda Lavin was very memorable as Madalyn Pugh in the documentary side of the film. J.K Simmons and Nina Arianda were enjoyable.

Nothing wrong with any of these people, but the show was definitely stolen by Kidman and Bardem. I do wish they had some more people of color in more significant roles, but I get it was Lucille Ball’s story.

Nicole Kidman in "Being the Ricardos" (2021)

Very interesting slice of her life. I think I just didn’t know by default of my generation, but I was amazed at what she had to go through on that show and was wonderfully entertained throughout. Sorkin, Kidman and Bardem are worth it alone. Any fans of filmmaking should certainly check this out too.

Written by Sam Gall on Dec 21, 2021

CGC Grading: Gem Mint 10.0

"While it's meant to be about these iconic figures in television history, the real icon who comes through most of all is Aaron Sorkin." - Tim Cogshell, FilmWeek (KPCC - NPR Los Angeles)

"Certainly worth seeing... It's more performance than mimicry, but it's pretty staid in direction." - Peter Rainer, FilmWeek (KPCC - NPR Los Angeles)

"No wonder actors love Sorkin: the man writes dialogue worthy of the classic screwball comedies of the 1930s. There's no higher praise." - Paul Byrnes, Sydney Morning Herald

"There's enough grounding and commitment in the performances of Kidman, Bardem, and the rest of the cast to keep things interesting, especially if you don't know or care too much about the actual facts involving Lucy and Desi's lives and careers." - Aisha Harris, NPR

Official Trailer:

Behind the Scenes:

#MovieReview #BeingTheRicardos #LucilleBall #DesiArnaz #NicoleKidman #JavierBardem #JKSimmons #NinaArianda #AaronSorkin #ILoveLucy

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