Why was it such a surprise to so many that Being the Ricardos turned out to be one of the year’s best films? The artist behind the project is Aaron Sorkin. Sure, the filmmaker has his detractors, but no one can challenge the fact that he’s a damn good writer. With Molly’s Game and The Trial of the Chicago 7 under his belt, he’s proven he’s a more than capable director. Both garnered him Oscar nominations for their screenplays, and Trial received a Best Picture nod.
Sorkin began his career as a playwright and had his first show bow on Broadway while he was still in his twenties. That play, A Few Good Men, was then adapted into the Oscar-nominated Rob Reiner movie starring Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, and Jack Nicholson. Sorkin went on to pen the screenplays for Malice (starring Nicole Kidman), The American President, and Charlie Wilson’s War before winning an Academy Award for David Fincher’s landmark film The Social Network. Another Oscar nomination followed for Moneyball, and he won the Golden Globe Award for his brilliant Steve Jobs script (his third Globe).
On television, he created the immensely popular show, The West Wing, winning five Emmys for his four seasons. He was also responsible for creating HBO’s perspicacious series The Newsroom starring Jeff Daniels, who won an Emmy for his work.
In 2018, Sorkin adapted Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird for the Broadway stage, starring Jeff Daniels. The production was nominated for 8 Tony Awards.
Being the Ricardos marks Sorkin’s third film as writer and director. He cleverly structures the film so it takes place during one week of production for I Love Lucy — from the Monday table read to the Friday show taping. The film delves into revealing who Lucille Ball (Nicole Kidman, in the performance of the year) and Desi Arnaz (Javier Bardem, perfect) really were when they weren’t donning their Lucy and Ricky Ricardo personas. The film has a great deal to say about what fame can and cannot buy. It also examines very timely and urgent themes about the dangers of accusations and condemnations without allowing people to defend themselves against said accusations and condemnations, and about the importance of having nuanced conversations instead of leaping to presumptive conclusions. The film is also entertaining as hell!
Sorkin has been one of the industry’s most sought after and significant writers for the last few decades. Now he can most definitely add director to his list of mastered crafts.
Awards Daily had a Zoom Chat with Sorkin during a recent press junket.
Being the Ricardos opens in theaters on December 10th and begins streaming on Amazon Prime on December 21st.