The first round of moviegoers have seen “Being the Ricardos,” and it appears Amazon Prime may have another awards contender on its hands. As one person put it, “If you want impersonations, #BeingtheRicardos might not be for you. If you want performances that capture the spirit and soul of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, you’re in for a treat.”
The film tells the story of one week on the set of “I Love Lucy,” digging into the marriage of its stars Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz (played by Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem, respectively), all while Ball is being accused by Senator Joseph McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee of being a communist sympathizer.
Those in attendance at the Los Angeles screening on Saturday night praised both director Aaron Sorkin’s storytelling and the team-up of Kidman and Bardem.
“Lucy, you’ve got some campaigning to do,” New York Times writer Kyle Buchanan wrote. “BEING THE RICARDOS played well in its first screening, suggesting a solid awards contender. I bought Nicole more as offscreen, dramatic Lucy than as a sitcom dynamo, but the audience still ate her and Javier Bardem up.”
Earlier this week, the movie came under fire by fans once again, for casting Nicole Kidman over Debra Messing in the role of Ball. “Nicole Kidman as Lucille Ball makes ZERO SENSE in a world where Debra Messing exists,” author Luvvie Ajayi Jones tweeted.
For what it’s worth though, Lucie Arnaz, the daughter of Lucy and Desi, has endorsed the film, noting that Sorkin captured “the heart of my mother and my father” and applauding Kidman’s take on Ball, saying she couldn’t have handled someone who looked more like her mother.
“Nicole Kidman became my mother’s soul,” Arnaz said in a video posted on Instagram. “She crawled into her head. I don’t know how you do that. She cared very deeply about this part, [and] it shows. And I believed everything she said. She looks beautiful – thank God they didn’t do exact lookalikes, I couldn’t have taken it.”
“I was blown away by Nicole Kidman as Lucy because I didn’t think she could nail it. But the trick is that she doesn’t play the Lucy we know,” Awards Daily wrote, cheering the casting of Kidman. “She plays the Sorkinesque ‘smartest person in the room.’ #BeingTheRicardos”
Erick Weber of AwardsAce.com agreed. “Old time Hollywood will love #BeingTheRicardos, behind-the-scenes showbiz stuff that works so well with this town’s crowd, Nicole Kidman announces her arrival in #Oscars Best Actress race, will be a legit player, far more entertaining film than TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7, no contest”
You can check out more reactions to “Being the Ricardos” below.