A black and white image of Lucille Ball in 'I Love Lucy' next to an image of Nicole Kidman in 'Being the Ricardos'

Things We Saw Today: So the Critics Are Into Nicole Kidman’s Lucille Ball in Being the Ricardos?

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The first critical reactions from Aaron Sorkin’s upcoming Amazon movie Being the Ricardos have hit the Internet.

Contrary to a lot of the social media speculation about Nicole Kidman maybe not being the best fit for Lucille Ball based on what was seen in trailers, lavish praise is emerging for Kidman’s performance.

Turner Classic Movies host Dave Karger said that the first big screening of Being the Ricardos “definitely silenced the skeptics,” and predicts Oscar nominations for Kidman and her co-star Javier Bardem. Bardem’s controversial casting has been in the news once again for all the wrong reasons, thanks to writer/director Sorkin’s bizarre commentary.

Kidman seems to be transcending the noise that was made about her casting and is turning it into buzz.

Many had previously questioned whether Kidman was the right pick, and the bits we saw of her in trailers did not seem reassuring.

There were other actors who some fans thought should have won the role.

But the recent screening appears to have dazzled the critics in attendance. Erik Anderson, the editor in chief of AwardsWatch, declared that Kidman and Bardem are “on fire” and that Being the Ricardos is “one of the sharpest and funniest films of the year.”

Reactions to the biopic as a whole have been enthusiastic, with Kidman’s turn especially singled out.

It’s lovely to see that Kidman has won over many skeptics and appears to have turned in a riveting performance. There are few larger-than-life cultural icons it must feel as intimidating to embody as the great Lucille Ball.

I do wonder how many of these effusive critics who liked the film were drawn in by the “inside baseball” nature of Aaron Sorkin’s no doubt extremely chatty, walking-and-talking script. Sorkin is an acquired taste and when he doesn’t work, he can be exasperating to the average viewer. I’ll be curious to see what general audiences who aren’t plugged directly into the intricacies of Hollywood history think.

Given Sorkin’s recent word salad commentary about Bardem’s casting, I’m not exactly rushing to see Being the Ricardos. But I’m glad that Kidman’s performance is being hailed, and I hope this puts the Lucy wars to bed.

Being the Ricardos debuts on Amazon Prime on December 10th, 2021.

(images: CBS/Amazon)

Here are some other things we saw today:

  • Agatha: House of Harness was the most “liked” reveal on social media of Disney+’s big Disney+ Day. (via Comicbook.com)
  • “A century ago, women’s right to wear lipstick and other cosmetics became a cultural battlefield” (via WSJ)
  • Most states in the US are seeing COVID cases grow, leading to fears of a “winter surge.” Be careful out there! (via Yahoo News)
  • In news that shocks no one, Elon Musk is once again being terrible on Twitter. This time it’s about Senator Bernie Sanders. (via CNN)
  • All the new movies you can stream at home this weekend. (via Polygon)

What did you see today?

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Kaila Hale-Stern
Kaila Hale-Stern (she/her) is a content director, editor, and writer who has been working in digital media for more than fifteen years. She started at TMS in 2016. She loves to write about TV—especially science fiction, fantasy, and mystery shows—and movies, with an emphasis on Marvel. Talk to her about fandom, queer representation, and Captain Kirk. Kaila has written for io9, Gizmodo, New York Magazine, The Awl, Wired, Cosmopolitan, and once published a Harlequin novel you'll never find.