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  • Writer's pictureSteve

Being The Ricardos (2021)

Before I begin, I have to say I am too young (can't say that too often) and from the wrong side of the Atlantic to say I really understand the phenomenon that was Lucille Ball. Her biggest influence on me by the time the repeats hit the UK was an opportunity to change channel. This is not an indictment of her or her shows, but of me and my ability to appreciate them. I have seen some of the shows since and can agree that she was a unique delight when she was performing.

Having previously been married to an actress, I see some of her in Lucy here, particularly when she is struggling to juggle her contract and her marriage and the very real fact that the entertainment business was (and still is, regardless of what you've heard) exponentially more difficult for women almost as regularly as each birthday comes around. I recognise the focus, the creativity on the fly that Lucy sees in her minds eye in real time, the confidence that she believes she is right, even when she sometimes isn't.

Appearing at a time when misogyny was at its peak in this industry, the benefits of being young and pretty were obvious and whilst Lucy is arguably smarter than the majority of the men she comes up against, it seemed to me that the only real progress she would make was when she was either funny or overtly feminine. Neither would threaten the suits enough to rock her boat. Until she got tired of keeping the peace.

Both Kidman and Bardem are very easy to watch and Kidman especially inhabits the character so completely as make you forget it isn't her underneath the feisty, red-headed drawl that Ball is known for, made all the easier by the always reliable Aaron Sorkin script.

For general appeal this is more limited for obvious reasons, not least as mentioned above, but for 'I Love Lucy' fans, then it's a great deep dive and handled with skill more than care, but there isn't much between the two.


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