Loving tells the grounded tale of how interracial marriage bans were ruled unconstitutional and feels frightening relevant in the current landscape.
Director: Jeff Nichols
Summary: Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple, are sentenced to prison in Virginia in 1958 for getting married.
As I mentioned in my The Eagle Huntress review, the state of mind you’re in can greatly affect how you react to a movie. I saw The Eagle Huntress and Loving the same day and I was left with a similar feeling; this feels all too relevant considering the current cultural environment. While The Eagle Huntress was an uplifting reminder that we need to remind the young women of the world that they can do anything, Loving felt more like a reminder that we haven’t made that much progress when it comes to race relations. Loving tells the story of the case Loving vs the state of Virginia and the journey of the couple Richard (Joel Edgerton) and Mildred (Ruth Negga) that spawned the case.
The movie is not what people will expect it to be. There aren’t any huge soaring moments of declaration in front of judges; Richard and Mildred are just a simple country couple that wants to be left alone. They are hesitant to even get involved with the case at all, Richard even more so, and they don’t enjoy the amount of public attention they get. No one leaves a burning cross on their lawn and there aren’t any attempted murders. There is a hint of potential violence that pan out. When Richard and Mildred are asked if they want to go before the supreme court by their lawyers, the lawyers are baffled when they say “no”. They just want to be together and it reminds us that reality isn’t filled with movie-like speeches or moments. The fact that the movie focuses on that makes it feel so much more grounded.
The cast is fantastic with Joel Edgerton being the stand out by the way he doesn’t stand out. He truly loses himself in this role and we see how much he is struggling with the desire to keep Mildred and his family safe and how much he loves them. Ruth Negga is finally going to get the recognition she deserves for her performance as Mildred. While Mildred is much more keen looking at the big picture, when it comes to their case she is still a small- town country girl at heart and you really feel for her. This movie is brought to us by writer/director Jeff Nichols who brought us the fantastic Mud and Midnight Special.
Loving is a quiet and tender movie that reminds us of the importance of holding on to what you care about, even when everyone else tells you it’s time to let go. It’s also a reminder that people fought like hell to obtain the rights we have now and we must continue to fight to uphold them.