This review ran as part of our coverage of the 2022 Sundance Film Festival.
The Pitch: I Love Lucy is so inextricably tied to pop culture that many of its trademarks are still recognizable today, over seventy years since the show first aired. The central duo, brought to life by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, has been an object of fascination for almost as long — look at Aaron Sorkin‘s current project, Being the Ricardos, which has the edge in flashiness thanks to the star power of Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem. Director Amy Poehler‘s thoughtful documentary on the subject has one extremely important thing Sorkin’s series lacks, though — access to the real thing.
Thanks to a treasure trove of audio tapes and home movies shared by the daughter of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Lucie Arnaz, Lucy and Desi is a window into two staples of entertainment history who were both wildly ahead of their time. While the film doesn’t offer any shocking, unknown revelations about the couple, it proves that Lucy and Desi’s story isn’t one that needs to be sensationalized. They were sensational enough on their own.
Lucy, We’re Home: It’s easy to see why Amy Poehler, as a deft actress, comedian, and producer herself, would be drawn to Lucille Ball’s story. Footage reveals Ball to be hard-edged and self-deprecating — she insists that she wasn’t very pretty, naturally funny, particularly smart, or strong when it comes to singing and dancing. Such claims stand in stark contrast to photos and some excellent archival footage that paints a very different picture.