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Becoming the Ricardos

This biopic focuses on one week in the life of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz as they are filming an upcoming episode of I Love Lucy. Overall, I enjoyed the movie but, for me, it was uneven. It was interesting to see some of the backstories behind the friendships between Lucy, Desi, Vivian Vance, and William Frawley. I also did not know that Ball was the subject of a controversy around her potentially being affiliated with the communist party. I also found that the flashbacks and flash-forwards help provide a richer history of her life and how the show came into being. Nina Arianda, who plays Vivian Vance, and J.K. Simmons, who plays William Frawley were great as was Javier Bardem as Desi Arnaz. For the most part, Nicole Kidman pulled off the role of Lucille Ball. She had that raspy voice down, and she looked a lot like her, particularly at the end. However, I missed the spark and greatness of Lucille Ball who always seemed to be a compelling force. The scenes that they staged in the film the ones that I remember laughing at when I was a kid watching these shows, were not very funny in the movie; Kidman’s performance didn’t quite recreate Ball’s wonderful physical comedy. The script is also first-rate, which is to be expected of Sorkin, who doesn’t seem capable of writing a bad screenplay. I give this film a thumbs up; having always been a fan of I Love Lucy, the backstory was very interesting, even if the film overall was uneven. (2021; 3.5 Stars)

About Gary Burkholder

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