Director: Aaron Sorkin
Story By: Aaron Sorkin
Cast: Nicole Kidman, Javier Bardem, Nina Arianda, Tony Hale, Alia Shawkat, & J.K. Simmons
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I love a good documentary, documentary-film, &/or biopic. I am also a Nickelodeon child of the 90s when Nick at Nite was nothing but the classic black and whites—Mary Tyler Moore, Bewitched, and of course I Love Lucy. Needless to say, I was super excited about this film, and I was thoroughly satisfied.
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Below are my grades for key components in #BeingTheRicardos that I find to be key in any story/film/series—Theme, Plot, Pacing, and Character (pertaining to arc/development &/or delivery). FYI: My A=95, A- =90, B=85, B-=80…etc. My D- =60 and my F=50
Additionally, I have added an entertainment factor scale to help you determine whether or not the film is something you’d be interested in taking time out of your weekend, evening, or day to watch. The scale range consists of: Worth the Watch/$$$, Interesting Enough (if looking for something new to start, OR experience is intentionally relevant to the genre and executed well–nothing more), Wait for Streaming, Don’t Rush, & Don’t Watch.
I have also added a few non-spoiling thoughts, wonderings, and comments as I watched the film to help give some rationale for my grades and entertainment scale.
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Plot & Story: A-
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General Public: Worth the Watch
Film Enthusiasts: Interesting Enough
Experience Seekers (via Visuals & Score): Don’t Rush
Biopic/Drama Fans: Worth The Watch
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1. The early years are so scandalous, and I love it! 😂🙌🏾
2. Lucille Ball was truly a visionary! If you hadn’t done it before, you really need to put some respect on her name. 🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾
3. Despite the surrounding drama, obstacles, and scandals…“The [show] must go on”—This was a core aspect to the messaging that stood out to me, and was executed extremely well, with “show” encompassing the literal show, but also the marriage and Lucy’s star quality.👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👍🏾
4. Nicole MF Kidman! 🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾
5. I loved how writers used her definition of “home” to help drive the resolution to “The Ricardos”…and ultimately the Arnaz family. 👍🏾
6. I found the utilization of the characters to be one of this film’s strongest qualities. Kidman truly embodied the theme via Lucy, balancing the behind-closed-doors stress with literally moving things along in regards to the show when in public.
There was this “smooth, chaotically organized toxic essence” that Bardem delivered for Desi Arnaz that provided this ever lingering tensity which supported the theme for me—especially in regards to the impact on the marriage and the thin lines between protecting “The Arnaz’s”, “Lucy”, and the “Lucy brand.”
And then we have our side characters, who all had an important role with their own problems that also added to the overall theme—problems/drama/obstacles around image, patriarchy, sexism, power, and politics. No matter what a side character was dealing with, it was somehow directly connected to Lucy and the theme. 👍🏾👍🏾👍🏾
7. As mentioned about Bardem’s delivery of Desi, the pacing of the film moves in such a fast, chaotic, yet organized way. For me, it felt extremely intentional because I think we’ve all had days or weeks where we’ve been anticipating something—good or bad—and everything feels like a blur because of what’s going on in your head and body as you wait for that “something” while life continues to still toss in other shyt that seems to only intensify everything… Yeah… I could only imagine that this was life “being a Ricardo.” That this was life for this week where multiple scandals were taking place. That this was life as successful woman during a time where you can’t unapologetically be a “successful woman…”
The pacing meets that feeling.
My only complaint is that the time shifts could come off a little messy at times.🥴
8. Chile… let me find out Desi was like a legal, Hollywood “Scarface.” 👀😂🤷🏾♂️
9. The “breakfast” conversation between Viv and Lucy… 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾
10. After a successful first season of their show that pushed the needle of American television and standards, Lucy and Desi Arnaz are met with a variety of news that can potentially ruin their success, their vision, and their marriage—this is Being the Ricardos.
Act One wastes no time with getting that key news/scandal out on the table that is shaking up the DesiLu studio, and showing its impact on not just the show/the success, but also the couple and everyone involved with this couple.
Act Two gives space for, first, the shyt other characters are dealing with that have a direct connection/impact on the vision for Lucy and the show. We then get a chance to understand Lucy’s come-up/success to help “justify” her response in keeping the train moving despite all the shyt that is taking place, and learn about domestic news that brings about a new shake up for television.
Act Three is far from a cool down. It’s possibly one of the most emotionally intense resolutions to a story, and we walk away learning more about this particular week that the story was set in, as well as what came to be with the “Ricardos.”
My only issue with the story was the feeling that the Desi vs Lucy “power struggle/tag” felt forced. 🥴
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Overall #BeingTheRicardos gives The United States vs Billie Holiday – meets What’s Love Got To Do With It (minus the abuse) – meets Respect – meets Mrs. America
One thing I expect from a docu-film or biopic is to learn something juicy or juicy-adjacent, and/or see something already known from a different perspective to add some type of criticality to the conversation. Being the Ricardos met my expectation. I didn’t know just how impactful I Love Lucy was for America and American television. Yeah it was popular, but it set the tone for so many things that feel norm today.
Also, Kidman is a beast! Her nominations are well deserved this season. And again, if you have never put respect on Lucille Ball’s name… you need to.
SN: I think Aaron Sorkin is a low-key fave director of mine. He has quite a few films I have actually enjoyed.