Being the Ricardos | Entertainment today
In almost every measure, Aaron Sorkin and “I Love Lucy” would be on opposite ends of the spectrum. Still, it’s exactly this apparent disparity that makes this brilliant film, now available on Amazon Prime Video. Sorkin (well known for his success in projects like Trial of the Chicago 7, Molly’s Game, The Newsroom, Moneyball, and The Social Network) brings to this project the script he directed over a seemingly unlikely week of production of the sitcom. original television.
Three major challenges that Lucille Ball and her Cuban husband Desi Arnaz faced are packed into this week, dramatically and effectively. There was a lot of controversy when the main cast was announced for this project; neither Nicole Kidman nor Javier Bardem are American, and therefore were supposed to be ill-equipped to appreciate the mass of effect of “I Love Lucy” on the country. Additionally, Bardem was harassed for not being Cuban. Bardem responded appropriately, asking if only Danish actors are equipped to play Hamlet.
The production values of Being the Ricardos are excellent, plunging us right into the early 1950s. Both lead actors are superb, certainly capturing our onscreen memories of the characters and easily convincing us of their offscreen characters. Their on-screen movies Fred and Ethel Mertz are admirably dosed by JK Simmons and Nina Arianda. Equally effective is the additional cast of network executives and corporate sponsors.
But Sorkin is in great shape, downright in his element. He clearly enjoyed immersing himself in one of the darkest hours of the time, that of the House Un-American Activities Committee, in which Shadow Ball was drawn. The film only addresses the possible massive success of Desilu Productions, the company formed by Ball and Arnaz. Although Ball (from Jamestown, NY) was CBS’s greatest asset, sponsor Philip Morris and Westinghouse, the production company she formed with her husband would later see huge success with television productions such as “Mannix “,” Mission: Impossible “and” Star Trek “.
My only problem with Sorkin’s script is the somewhat antithetical problem of two sentences that I didn’t think were prevalent in the 1950s: “turn on the gas” and “wait, what?” Most of us have only heard that last sentence from our teenagers today.
If like me you had only a passing interest in watching “I Love Lucy” at the time, you will agree that this superb film ended too soon.