Being the Ricardos

Oh, Looooooceeee…

Writer/director Aaron Sorkin takes us through one revealing week in the lives of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, during which they confront a political smear, personal fidelity accusations and cultural taboos. This is not a comedy.

The duo behind “I Love Lucy,” early television’s phenomenally popular proto-sitcom, were far more than a funny TV couple, and the movie takes pains to present the creative process that went into each weekly show, the influence they wielded, the on-set crises and ego clashes. As any writer worth his/her salt knows, comedy is way harder than drama.

Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem would not have been my first casting choices, but these two consummate actors grow into their roles as the witty and bittersweet story unfolds, and both give committed, terrific performances. J.K. Simmons and Nina Arianda are spot-on as William Frawley and Vivian Vance.

Bottom line: A thoroughly enjoyable, instructive and moving experience. On Amazon Prime. Note: I streamed a few of the original TV shows before watching this. I suggest you do the same. (131 min)