Being the Ricardos | Third Space

Being the Ricardos

Wed 22 Dec 2021
Hey Lucy, I'm Home!

3.5 out of 5 stars

Few performers have influenced multiple generations like Lucille Ball. Due to the syndication of her iconic television show, I Love Lucy, she continues to live on in our minds-eye to this day. Along with her husband, Desi Arnaz, they were a couple who changed the way that audiences were entertained and even what they were allowed to see on the small screen. Legendary writer/director Aaron Sorkin has set his own precedent for television viewing with The West Wing and multiple films throughout the years. With his latest project, he takes on a critical week in the life of this famous couple that could have led to an early end of their show.

We are introduced to them as they prepare for their week of production at Desilu studios. Prior to starting the week, the Arnazes were hit with multiple challenges with the announcement on one radio station and the delivery of the local newspaper. I Love Lucy has become one of the biggest hits in television history, but this does not mean their family and careers are protected from the ravages of the media. Between Dezi (Javier Bardem) being accused of having multiple affairs outside of their marriage and Lucille (Nicole Kidman) having to front The House Un-American Activities Committee as an accused Communist, it goes without saying that the couple is having a tough week.

Then to add to the intensity of the broadcast week, they must announce how Lucille is pregnant, which had not been shown on national television before. With sponsors and the CBS network executives piling on the pressure, the couple’s marriage and livelihood are all taken to the brink. Everyone around them is worried about the show’s demise. Still, Lucy and Desi must determine how they can save everything in their lives. Aaron Sorkin provides his exemplary writing style to this compelling historical week that had the potential to change how we all watch television.

If you go into this film expecting to be laughing hysterically at the antics behind the scenes of this beloved show, you will be disappointed. While they show how seriously the cast took their comedic craft, this project is a character analysis of this famous couple and the show that made them legends. Sorkin offers viewers an intimate view of Desi and Lucy’s relationship, along with how they worked with varying degrees of effectiveness with everyone involved with the show. The writer takes viewers through a series of conversations and confrontations that exposes how challenging the entertainment world can be and how this pair survived it together.

Along with the writing and direction, this cast is a deep well that continues to give throughout the whole biographical journey. Audiences will relish in the captivating performances from JK Simmons, Nina Arianda, Tony Hale, and Alia Shawkat. Yet, the entire story is defined by the work of Kidman and Bardem. They prove they deserved to portray these iconic figures and show how convincing they are together. While Sorkin keeps a controlled and focussed view of this relationship along the way. He may be criticised for keeping his screenplay soundly within a dramatic tone instead of taking a comedic approach to their lives. A choice that gives this whole production a sombre feel, especially with the lighting and camera angles that add to the darker elements of this storyline.

Being the Ricardos is a testament to the toughness of this seasoned entertainment family and does prove to be fascinating history. It epitomises Aaron Sorkin’s style and will satisfy his faithful followers. While leaving fans of Lucille Ball with the harsh reality of how many comedians' lives involve more suffering than laughs many of the times.

REEL DIALOGUE: What is fair?

Throughout human history, mankind has had a deep need for fairness and the delivery of justice. Throughout Aaron Sorkin’s film, he touches on different situations that lead to an element of right and wrong. While some of it is black and white, much of the story resides in the greyness of ambiguity. Which may cause some to consider where this need for justice gets its origins?

Some may say that laws and rules were created by man over time, but there has to be an ultimate authority. Another consideration is that the need for justice is hard-wired into mankind, and the explanation can be found in God's words and very nature.

Being a God of justice and studying through His words shows that he wants all things to be made right. It might seem a stretch to think that a story about a television show can initiate a deeper consideration of justice and God. Yet, why not seek the real answers to justice and where they can be found.

Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. - Isaiah 30:18

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