A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
You need perseverance and courage to reach your goals, especially in a tough industry. It shows integrity to be honest about your past and your choices.
Positive Role Models
Both Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz definiely aren't perfect (she's a micromanager, and he has trouble with fidelity), but they show perseverance when it comes to dealing with the racist, sexist entertainment industry and when they decide to make their own production company and star in their own TV show at a time when interracial couples weren't on television. They continue breaking the mold when they decide to make Lucy's pregnancy part of the series, pushing back against social barriers. Even though Ball and Arnaz have issues within their marriage, they're great business partners and showcase teamwork with several business dilemmas that come up.
Javier Bardem is the only person of color playing a POC among the cast; that's accurate for the story, since Desi Arnaz was generally surrounded by mostly White people in Hollywood. Color/race barriers are addressed within the film, which shows Arnaz and Ball were ahead of their time regarding both their marriage and their business partnership. Alia Shawkat, who is half Iraqi, plays a White character. Her character, Madelyn, along with Lucy and Vivian Vance are all successful women, but the film could have taken more advantage of opportunities to showcase their camaraderie as women in a male-dominated space.
Did we miss something on diversity? Suggest an update.
Violence & Scariness
Characters make physical threats in anger.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Kissing, making out, and scenes in which underwear is visible. A character says that Lucy and Desi are "either tearing each other's heads off or tearing each other's clothes off." Ball tells executives questioning her pregnancy that "I f----d my husband."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Strong language includes swear words, potentially ableist terms, and exclamatory uses of God: "f--k," "hell," "bitch," "bulls--t," "s--t," "goddamn," "imbecile," "dimwit," "stupid," "Jesus Christ."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Several mentions of a tobacco brand that was sponsoring I Love Lucy at the time. Mention of Jim Beam bourbon.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters drink and smoke, including Lucy, who's pregnant at the time (the medical industry wasn't yet aware of the effects of drinking and smoking on fetuses).
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Being the Ricardos is writer/director Aaron Sorkin's drama about a tumultuous week in the lives and production schedule of I Love Lucy creators/stars Lucille Ball (Nicole Kidman) and Desi Arnaz (Javier Bardem). The film has strong language ("f--k," "s--t," "goddamn," and more), some verbal threats, and sexually suggestive scenes, as well as scenes with drinking and smoking, including by the pregnant Ball. Racism and sexism in Hollywood are addressed, as is infidelity, though the film also demonstrates the power of perseverance and courage in reaching your goals, especially in a tough industry. Fans of Sorkin's style will likely enjoy it, but it's not the biopic to watch if your main goal is learning more about Ball and Arnaz. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Sorkin tries to bring viewers into the behind-the-scenes world of I Love Lucy, but overall this drama comes off as an expensive but flat look at an iconic power couple. Ball and Arnaz are up against a wall of controversy in Being the Ricardos thanks to Hollywood gossip linking Ball to communism and Arnaz to infidelity. And Sorkin is clearly interested in dissecting the politics and personal drama that went on behind the scenes of one of America's most popular shows. But it's lacking.
At worst, Being the Ricardos feels like Sorkin putting his Sorkin-isms into overdrive, including moments with the kind of circular, wordy dialogue that only serves Sorkin's sense of his own intelligence. And the way the characters are used feels a bit like what you see in Wes Anderson productions: They're like dolls for Sorkin to position and make talk, not true explorations of the people they're based on. Yes, as a whole, the cast does an impressive job, with Kidman and Bardem nailing Ball and Arnaz's voices and mannerisms (which helps to sell the illusion more than their looks actually do). But even with good actors giving their all, the film never rises above the Sorkin tropes, which makes it feel more tired than it should.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.