Starring: Nicole Kidman, Javier Bardem, JK Simmons
Director: Aaron Sorkin
Running Time: 131 mins
Being The Ricardos is an American film about the true story of Lucille Ball, legendary star of TV comedy, and her battles with the press during the Red Scare, and with her own crew and family as her world-famous show faces myriad unforeseen circumstances.
An interesting look at the behind-the-scenes world of one of the most famous shows in television history, Being The Ricardos wins with a collection of committed and likable performances, gripping emotional drama and good historical insight. With a lot of different stories occurring at once, the film can feel a little convoluted at times, and struggles to maintain a consistent tone throughout, but that fortunately doesn’t impede on a rather engaging watch.
As far as biopics go, Being The Ricardos is a pretty solid one. While the movie certainly doesn’t open up any groundbreaking drama with regards to the making of I Love Lucy or the relationship between leads Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, it does at least serve up a good collection of stories that go beyond the lives of its two main stars.
Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem are great in those leading roles, but they form part of a larger ensemble cast featuring JK Simmons, Nina Arianda, Alia Shawkat, Tony Hale and more, all playing the parts of the team behind the legendary I Love Lucy.
With that, Being The Ricardos takes a little pressure off itself by giving you more to focus on than just Lucy and Desi. Their marriage is at the centre of the film, and we regularly take steps back in time to see how they got to where they are in their personal and professional lives, but the film has a lot more to say than just retreading their life stories.
That opens up a lot of captivating emotional drama which serves as a good anchor throughout the film. This may not be utterly mesmerising viewing, but it is a detailed and intimate portrayal of the lives of a dysfunctional group of friends and colleagues, all played out against the backdrop of their famous sitcom, and the complex political sphere on 1950s America.
The depth of the story means there’s no shortage of drama, but it does also mean that Being The Ricardos gets a little tangled up in the web of different tales it’s trying to tell at once. That leaves the film feeling a little convoluted at points, as it reintroduces plot points long after they first appear, while the difference between some of its more serious themes and some of its lighter notes make the film’s tone a little all over the place.
With all that said, however, I found Being The Ricardos a genuinely interesting watch, and one filled with the energy and emotion to give you an engrossing insight behind the world of I Love Lucy. It’s by no means perfect or groundbreaking in the world of biopics, but with great performances from its ensemble cast, captivating drama and a lot going on, it’s a thoroughly engaging watch. So, that’s why I’m giving Being The Ricardos a 7.5 overall.