Rachel York has a Ball
I would imagine that most people at some point in their life become aware of Lucille Ball as whilst she wasn't a huge film star she was "The First Lady of Television" and "The Queen of Comedy" thanks to "I Love Lucy" and "The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour". But whilst well aware of Lucille Ball I actually knew very little about her before watching the made for TV movie "Lucy". Now that means I have no idea how free and easy this movie is with the facts but I do know that not only do they recreate some iconic Lucille Ball moments such as the iconic grape treading scene but it is entertaining from start to finish with Rachel York doing a wonderful job of embodying the comic talent of Lucille Ball.
So as already mentioned my knowledge of Lucille Ball is limited and I don't know how true "Lucy" is but this movie basically takes us from 1925 and a teen Lucy to February 1960 when after a troubled marriage Desi and Lucille called it a day both privately and publicly with the final "The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour". Whilst part of the movie focuses on Lucille's attempts to make it as a movie star the majority of the focus is upon Lucy's relationship with Desi and the troubled caused by his womanizing, gambling and drinking. But at the same time it establishes how much they loved each other and more importantly how "I Love Lucy" came to be.
The thing about "Lucy" is that it probably works best if like me your knowledge of Lucille Ball is scant because then not only do you not know when the truth has been bent but some of the incidents in Lucille's life end up being surprising. Without telling you everything an early scene involving an accidental shooting and the family ending up bankrupt is a surprise but at the same time also helps establish part of what drove Lucille on. And it has to be said that Katie Ford and T.S. Cook who wrote the screenplay have done a fantastic job because whilst at times it feels a bit like a cherry picked history it works as it focuses on the relationship of Desi and Lucille.
But I can tell you exactly why "Lucy" really works and that is down to Rachel York who is fabulous as Lucille Ball and delivers so many wonderful funny scenes that you just sit back and end up enjoying the fun. There are those classic Lucille Ball moments such as the hilarious grape treading scene, but then the vaudeville performance she and Desi put on is pure gold and, well I could go on and on because York is dynamite from start to finish and gets across the comedy genius of Lucille. But at the same time York gets across the person behind the humour, from the loving wife who put up with a lot to the loving daughter, driven to give her mum a better life. It means that come the end of the movie not only will you be laughing you will be touched by York's portrayal of Lucille.
As for the rest of the cast, well best to ignore some of the look-alikes chosen to play recognizable stars and feel for Danny Pino as Desi Arnaz. I say feel for Pino because he delivers a solid performance and brings to life some of the problems which Desi appeared to have but he is constantly outshone by Rachel York.
What this all boils down to is that "Lucy" is a seriously entertaining movie from start to finish. I don't know how authentic it is and how far it strays from the truth but it will make you smile from start to finish whilst giving you an idea of who Lucille Ball was.