Being the Ricardos (Aaron Sorkin, 2021) Nicole Kidman, Xavier Bardem; streaming on Prime
<<A revealing glimpse of the couple's complex romantic and professional relationship, the film takes audiences into the writers' room, onto the soundstage and behind closed doors with Ball and Arnaz during one critical production week of their groundbreaking sitcom I Love Lucy.>>
... Sorkin himself has a track record in situation comedy: he wrote the peculiar Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, about an imaginary SNL-type show, and brilliantly mocked both himself and this programme with his cameo on Tina Fey’s 30 Rock. He has of course created brilliant movies and TV shows of all sorts, but his verbose dialogue could itself be called “screwball serious”: an often exhausting display of self-important liberals winning arguments against each other. This was what for me sank his previous film The Trial of the Chicago 7 and it makes this one weirdly uphill work, for all that it is ingeniously structured and vehemently performed. ... An oddity, in which all the characters seem to be avatars for the loquacious Sorkin himself. The Guardian.
As a writer, Aaron Sorkin has always been stubbornly formulaic, often relying on the same set of recurring narrative structures and pet themes, from an overreliance on flashbacks to a reflexive respect for American institutions. All of those tics are brought to bear on his third directorial effort, Being the Ricardos, which also suffers from the clichés inherent to the biopic genre. ... Sorkin prioritizes a didactic emphasis on the themes of the story over a more ambivalent reading that trusts the audience to follow along without being dragged by the hand. Ironically, a film that betrays Sorkin’s disinterest in a classic show for its lowest-common-denominator appeal calls attention to the condescending oversimplification of his own methods. Slantmagazine.
Garry Gillard | reviews | New: 27 December, 2021 | Now: 28 December, 2021