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First reactions to Nicole Kidman as Lucille Ball are in — see what critics are saying

Kidman portrays the television icon in the upcoming film "Being the Ricardos."
/ Source: TODAY

The trailer for Amazon Prime’s “Being the Ricardos” sparked mixed reviews among Lucille Ball fans on social media last week, with many viewers divided about Nicole Kidman's portrayal of Ball.

On Saturday, Kidman along with co-star Javier Bardem, who portrays Desi Arnaz, and director-writer Aaron Sorkin made one of their first public appearances in support of the film at a screening and Q&A for critics, many of whom took took to Twitter to rave about the performances and storytelling.

“Lucy, you’ve got some campaigning to do: BEING THE RICARDOS played well in its first screening, suggesting a solid awards contender,” tweeted New York Times reporter Kyle Buchanan. “I bought Nicole more as offscreen, dramatic Lucy than as a sitcom dynamo, but the audience still ate her and Javier Bardem up.”

Variety reporter Clayton Davis also praised Kidman’s portrayal of the television icon as well as Sorkin’s direction.

“Under Sorkin’s direction, ‘Being the Ricardos’ presents plenty of chuckles and sympathy for our favorite redhead in TV history,” he wrote. “Kidman embodies the essence of Lucille Ball, especially in her mannerisms during the rehearsals and filming of episodes.

He continued, “She very well may break your heart, demanding the viewer’s sympathy and a best actress nomination may seem almost certainly in the cards for her.” film critic Perri Nemiroff shared the film made her emotional.

“#BeingTheRicardos just left me in a puddle of tears,” she tweeted. “What a beautiful and deeply moving behind the scenes look at the pressures and complexities involved in making that show - highs, lows and everything in between. Nicole Kidman is INCREDIBLE.”

In the biopic, Academy Award winners Kidman and Bardem portray the sitcom legends amid a particularly chaotic week during the heyday of “I Love Lucy.” The beloved TV duo are “threatened by shocking personal accusations, a political smear and cultural taboos,” per the official description, with the film promising a “revealing glimpse of the couple’s complex romantic and professional relationship” offscreen.

Director Aaron Sorkin responded to the social media buzz around his casting decisions.

"When Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem ... say they want to do your movie, your casting search is over," he explained in a new interview in The Hollywood Reporter. "You start out making graphs and charts and this and things like that, and then suddenly it gets easy."

"Lucille Ball was more of a Rita Hayworth, Jessica Rabbit-looking actress," he added. "(Nicole) does an incredible job of mimicking Lucy.... So, finding an actress who looked like Lucille Ball wasn’t important to me, especially because I was excited by the idea that Lucille Ball doesn’t look like Lucille Ball — and that every time we're seeing Lucille Ball not as Lucy Ricardo, she should both literally and metaphorically let her hair down."

“Being the Ricardos” will open in theaters on December 10 before streaming on Prime Video on December 21.