Aaron Sorkin he has taken a liking to management. One year after reaching the Oscars with The Chicago 7 trial, the most influential screenwriter in contemporary Hollywood gets back behind the scenes with Being the Ricardos, a film that unfairly became the piñata of Twitter in the United States after the signing of Nicole Kidman Y Javier Bardem to bring two icons like Lucille Ball Y Desi Arnaz. However, if there is something clear about the star proposal of Amazon Prime Video for the next Oscars, it is that if there is a problem with this trip to the bowels of a legendary sitcom, I love you lucy, It does not come from its spectacular cast.
In your home country, Lucille Ball was an icon and pioneering figure of television humor. For the international public, the actress is known for being the protagonist of the first tribute of Scarlet Witch and Vision to the history of the sitcom and, above all, by the scene of Pretty Woman in which Richard Gere watches closely as Julia Roberts laughs out loud while watching an old television series. The sequence in question, Lucy’s eventful visit to a vineyard, appears in Being the Ricardos despite the fact that the film is set years before the broadcast of that mythical episode of a comedy that affected even the opening hours of stores with its audiences close to 60 million viewers per episode.
A seemingly insignificant detail like the inclusion of this wink underscores Sorkin’s devotion to a myth that hid in his biography two chapters that were about to end his career and with the most popular series of the 1950s. At the height of McCarthyism in the United States, Ball was involved in controversy after being accused of having belonged to the Communist Party in his youth. Bad news never comes alone: the actress begins to suspect her husband, her vital partner in front of and behind the cameras, after the publication in a tabloid of an alleged affair between Desi Arnaz with a stranger.
With Being the Ricardos, Sorkin once again addresses the issues that have made him one of the most revered and hated storytellers of his generation. Ball joins the long list of characters from the screenwriter who stick to their principles to stand up to forces more powerful than him. The actress follows in the footsteps of the lawyer of Some good men, President Bartlett of The West Wing of the White House, the journalist that America can once again be a great country in The Newsroom, Atticus Finch the new Broadway version of Kill a Mockingbird or the activist rebels who are willing to go to jail in The Chicago 7 trial.
Idealism, the eternal conversations while its characters walk through a set (this time, literally) and sentimentality are part of the DNA of Being the Ricardos. Sorkin can be accused of many things, but not of not being an author with a clearly differentiated speech and style. For the first time in his career as a director, the narrator goes beyond his devotion to the word (and montage in his forays behind the cameras) and allows himself to create visual discoveries for the first time like those black and white visions that explain how Ball’s creative mind works when coming up with T’s sketchese I want, Lucy.
The biggest obstacle of Being the Ricardos It comes, curiously, from a certain lack of definition in its script. A clear focus on the point of view of an author who does not seem to be very clear about what he wants to tell is missing. The film aspires to portray the resilience of a woman who does not want to betray her principles, the crisis of a marriage that is followed weekly by millions of people and a look at a fascinating creative process on the way to extinction on today’s television. The structure of the story (a reconstruction, day by day, of a key week in the life of the protagonist couple with some flashbacks that explain how it all started) and Sorkin’s always sharp dialogues make the two hours go by in a sigh, but when you get to the end of the trip the feeling left by Amazon production is bittersweet.
If there are two flawless elements in this drama inspired by real events, they are the interpretations of an extraordinary leading couple. The signing of Nicole Kidman was questioned because of her null physical resemblance to Ball. The careful vocal work of the Australian and her precision when separating the character (Lucy) from the person (Lucille) remind us that starring in a biopic is not the same as doing an imitation in Your face is familiar to me. Precisely the attempt to unnecessarily bring the actress closer to the character is about to damage the film at various points. Kidman’s talent recalls and celebrates the spirit of the pioneering comedian far better than any prosthetic.
Next to the actress, Javier Bardem shows off his overwhelming charisma with a character, Desi Arnaz, who basically has traits in common with the businessman that the Spaniard plays in The good boss. 20 years after his first Oscar nomination with Before Night Falls, another Cuban character reminds us once again that he is one of the most superlative and versatile actors in action. With Kidman and Bardem leading the cast, the Ricardo’s are worth following wherever they go.
‘Being the Ricardos’ is now available on Amazon Prime Video.
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Review: ‘Being the Ricardos’, a trip to the bowels of a TV classic with stellar Kidman and Bardem