Home Being The Ricardos

Being The Ricardos (15)

Cast: JK Simmons, Nicole Kidman, Javier Bardem, Nina Arianda
Genre: Drama
Author(s): Aaron Sorkin
Director: Aaron Sorkin
Release Date: 10/12/2021 (selected cinemas)
Running Time: 131mins
Country: US
Year: 2021

During one pivotal week of production on I Love Lucy in 1952, political smears and salacious headlines threaten the marriage and livelihoods of husband and wife stars Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball. Executive producer Jess Oppenheimer, writers Bob Carroll Jr and Madelyn Pugh and actors William Frawley and Vivian Vance offer their support after a radio show's allegation that Ball is a Communist.


LondonNet Film Review
Being The Ricardos (15)

At its peak, sitcom I Love Lucy starring husband and wife Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball attracted family audiences of up to 60 million to CBS on Monday nights. The half-hour show, which was recorded on three cameras in front of a studio audience, was so popular that one department store in Chicago moved its late-night opening to Thursdays, to avoid competing with the weekly misadventures of the fictional Ricardos…

Academy Award-winning writer-director Aaron Sorkin dramatises behind-the-scenes strife during one pivotal week of production on the 1952 episode Fred And Ethel Fight, when political smears and salacious headlines threaten Arnaz and Ball’s marriage. His script applies a generous salve of artistic licence – one of the splashiest set-pieces is inspired by an event that took place more than 18 months later than depicted – but Being The Ricardos never purports to be tightly handcuffed to fact.

Recreations of favourite moments, including the grape-stomping in the 1956 episode Lucy’s Italian Movie, underscore Ball’s natural flair for physical comedy. Few scriptwriters can match Sorkin for tart, fizzing, rat-a-tat dialogue that pops on the actors’ tongues like lemon sherbet. He arms a stellar cast with an arsenal of zingers, delivered at breakneck speed for prolonged stretches, and slowed to land an emotional blow.

Nicole Kidman is a knockout as Ball, nailing the goofiness and wild gesticulations whenever a director calls “Action”, and she catalyses molten screen chemistry with fellow Oscar winner Javier Bardem. This film opens on a sound stage where executive producer Jess Oppenheimer (Tony Hale), writers Bob Carroll Jr (Jake Lacy) and Madelyn Pugh (Alia Shawkat) and actors William Frawley (JK Simmons) and Vivian Vance (Nina Arianda), who play landlord Fred Mertz and his wife Ethel in I Love Lucy, are gathered for the table read of Fred And Ethel Fight.

Lucille (Kidman) and Desi (Bardem) are delayed by an urgent meeting with powerful men in suits to discuss a radio show’s allegation that senator Joseph McCarthy and the House un-American activities committee have accused Ball of being a Communist. “If you tape a show Friday night, means you still have a show,” sombrely counsels studio executive Howard Wenke (Clark Gregg).

Being The Ricardos is a beautifully crafted valentine to showbusiness at a time when the studio system made women beholden to male studio heads. Aided by prosthetics, the chameleonic Kidman eschews simple mimicry to powerfully convey an infuriating perfectionist spirit with terrific support from Arianda and Shawcat as strong, intelligent and outspoken women on both sides of the camera. Sorkin has fewer opportunities for directorial brio than his previous film, The Trial Of The Chicago 7. His script and the sparkling cast accomplish the heavy lifting.

– Sarah Lee


London Cinemas Showing Being The Ricardos


From: Friday 21st January
To: Thursday 27th January

No cinema infomation at the moment

From: Friday 28th January
To: Thursday 3rd February

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UK and Irish Cinemas Showing Being The Ricardos


From: Friday 21st January
To: Thursday 27th January

No cinema infomation at the moment

From: Friday 28th January
To: Thursday 3rd February

No cinema infomation at the moment