One of the great things about film is that it can resurrect a long dormant story and resurrect someone’s heroism that’s helped impact the way people live and are treated today. Loving is one of those films.
It’s the true story of Richard and Mildred Loving (Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga), an interracial couple who fell in love and got married in a small town in Virginia. It was 1958 and even though the state was more integrated than most, an interracial couple getting married was more than enough for the powers that be. They were both arrested and after their release, they were told to leave the state and never come back. After a brief stint in Washington D.C., they decided that Virginia was where they truly wanted to be. They were quickly arrested. With the help of the ACLU, they spent the next nine years fighting for their right to live together as a family, as man and wife. The case eventually made its way to the Supreme Court
Their case, Loving v. Virginia, made it all the way to the Supreme Court and, finally, in 1967, the court made the decision in their favor.
Written and directed by Jeff Nichols, Loving brings us back to a time when backwards thinking was prevalent. Kind of like today. (I wonder what kind of films they’ll be making 60 years from now?) It’s story of love and tenacity and striving to do the right thing when all the forces are against you.
Edgerton and Negga are excellent. They both give quiet, understated and nuanced performances and your heart just breaks for these two.
Nick Kroll shows up as ACLU lawyer Bernie Cohen. It’s kind of odd to see him in a dramatic film because you expect him to break out into some comedic rant but he works really well here. And the always fantastic Michael Shannon, who’s been in every film Nichols has directed, makes an appearance as a Life Magazine reporter.
It’s a sad, frustrating and inspirational film that puts you right in the mindset of what this couple was feeling and thinking. From the events that happened this week, if one side of America saw this, it might do them some good.