Luci and Desi (PG-13) ★★★★

American actress Lucille Ball (1911 – 1989) with her husband Desi Arnaz (1917 – 1986), circa 1953. (Photo by FPG/Getty Images)

Here are two TV viewing options; the first is my favorite film of the Sundance Film Festival of the 20 movies I screened. It’s Amy Poehler’s excellent documentary film, “Lucy and Desi.” Lucille Ball’s daughter Lucie Arnaz’s personal insights are priceless in understanding the complexity of her parent’s marriage and love.

Amy Poehler posed a question asking, “How could we truly know the powerhouse couple’s dealings in Hollywood?” The answer is very clear in the film as she had access to the Luci and Desi estate, which provided videos, photos, and audio of Lucy and Desi talking about their lives in their own words. Poehler also wanted to give a picture of their relationship on an emotional level.

Luci says, “They didn’t want Desi to play my husband because then we wouldn’t be the ‘all American couple,’ Desi is Cuban, and that was a roadblock.” They kept repeating to the producers that they wanted to do the show together. Simply put, they wanted to work together. Sadly, their fame is what tore them apart.

The addition of Carol Burnett, a true friend, and admirer of Luci, is telling. Her recollections and observations of her mentor, Luci, are priceless. Other admirers also chime in as daughter Luci Arnaz, singer, and comedian Bette Midler, and TV writer and producer Norman Lear confirm the couple’s comedic genius.

Near the end, Lucie Arnaz gives commentary on her father’s last wishes; as she was his caregiver, she relates the phone conversation between her parents, which is very touching. Having Arnaz on board brings authenticity as well.

I’m way in four stars out of four; the structure of the film adds to its overall crisp look and feel with loads of new information about the famous couple; both were pioneers in the TV industry. It’s streaming now on Amazon Prime.

Sarah Knight Adamson© March 7, 2022