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Release Date: December 10th, 2021 Movie Release Year: 2021

Being The Ricardos - Theatrical Review

Overview -

Narrative biopics usually have a tried and true formula that follows the intended subject from their childhood, their tumultuous upbringing, and overcoming obstacles that eventually lead to the big success story that warranted the biopic. Aaron Sorkin's biographical drama Being The Ricardos feels like a breath of fresh air in that it does not follow that usual pattern, where instead of following the life of Lucille Ball from start to finish, this film centers on one week of Lucille's life, specifically the one where she was accused of being a communist that could have eventually tanked her career and life. Even with Sorkin's quick-paced screenplay and some A-List stars, Being The Ricardos feels sluggish with no real meat in its story that tends to go off on tangents, especially in the last few minutes. And being outshined by co-stars J.K. Simmons and Alia Shawkat doesn't help the pacing either. Worth A Watch.

Coming To Amazon Prime Video December 21st, Now In Theaters - Order Your Tickets on Fandango

Worth a Look
Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Release Date:
December 10th, 2021

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take


Being The Ricardos takes place during one chaotic week during the filming of Lucille and Desi's show. A prominent radio host made the accusation that America's sweetheart was a communist, which at the time was a life or death accusation. Before that news traveled to every magazine, newspaper, and tv outlet, Lucille and Desi had to navigate how to handle the potential backlash from anyone and everyone involved. At the same time, Lucille and Desi had to tape and block their next episode in front of a live studio audience, while trying to appease studio execs, their co-stars, and the writing team. It was a lot to handle in the span of a week but that dynamic duo of Lucy and Desi were always destined to make everything work as they were greatly respected by all their peers and colleagues.

With a standout cast that includes Nicole Kidman as Lucille Ball and Javier Bardem as Desi Arnaz, it would seem like those two performances would carry the film completely in that any time they were off-screen, the movie wouldn't flow as well as it could. However, it was the opposite. Anytime Lucille or Desi was in the midst of discussing their predicament with the government, blocking the next episode of the show, or dealing with studio executives, there was a disconnect from them because they just weren't likable on-screen or interesting. That being said, every time Simmons who plays William Frawley or Fred on the show was front and center, his honesty and hilarious wit were infectious and realistic.

This was also the case with Shawkat's portrayal of the show's writer Madelyn Pugh, who used her dry humor to push the show in a great direction. And maybe it's because Kidman wasn't exactly the right choice for the role? Even though she's great in the movie, but there's something off in her mannerisms or likeability in the film that just misses the beat. This is perhaps that Sorkin's script navigates a web of multiple elements all at once that culminates in a gut-punch that Desi of course was unfaithful to Lucille. This element tops off the film but is never really discussed prior in the film where it felt like it was used for no other reason than to just drive home a current topic.


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Final Thoughts

But the most relatable character and most honest was in fact Fred (Simmons), who every time he's on-screen, makes every laugh count with his hilarious jokes and brutal honest truth about how he feels about anything and everyone. It doesn't come across as crass or mean, but in a blunt and sweet way, and those elements do not come across with the leads at all. Jeff Croneweth's cinematography (Fight Club) that shows what life was like inside and out many decades ago is utterly fantastic with all the 1950's decor and ambiance. Being the Ricardos is a well-mounted production that just misses the mark more often than not by trying to tackle too many conflicts without having a clear transformation or objective here. That being said, the film is at the very least Worth A Watch if for nothing else than for J.K. Simmons and Alia Shawkat's fantastic performances.  

Coming To Amazon Prime Video December 21st, Now In Theaters - Order Your Tickets on Fandango