Monday, December 12, 2016

Loving: Movie Review

Understated approach to historical importance.

Loving is about the Lovings, and that is their real last name. A couple from Viriginia whose story takes flight in 1958. The movie is an historical discussion and a romance about pure love. We’re introduced to Richard (Joel Edgerton) and Mildred (Ruth Negga) just before they get married. She’s pregnant, he’s elated, and there is absolutely no doubt that their marriage is one of love, and not convenience or social pressures. 2016

Directed by: Jeff Nichols

Screenplay by: Jeff Nichols

Starring: Joel Edgerton, Ruth Negga

Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton are hopefully both on their way to Oscar nominations, but it would not be surprising if they get overlooked in favour of louder, more dramatic performances. Richard is a very quiet individual and Mildred will do what she has to to get justice but would also prefer just sitting at home watching TV with her husband. These are the very definitions of lived-in performances. Richard and Mildred have known each other for years, and so do we.

Their fight for justice, is as quiet, but effective, of a fight that you could possibly have. They’re quiet people who stubbornly believe they did nothing wrong. Their crime was their interracial marriage. Richard is white, Mildred is black (although very curiously Mildred Loving through the years whenever she has to document her race chooses some combination of Indian, white or black, either way, the state of Virginia identifies her as black). They knew interracial marriage was illegal in Virginia at the time, and that’s why they get married in Washington D.C. instead. But that didn’t stop the local Virginia police from breaking into their home in the middle of the night, arresting them and throwing them in jail.

As said, these are quiet people who live a quiet life and they tried to choose a number of different options including moving from Virginia to Washington DC before opting for fighting. These are not the type of people who you normally see leading a charge and that’s why their Supreme Court case works so well in the movie. It’s a pivotal case for the righting of social wrongs and they would rather sit at home watching TV. A very amusing Michael Shannon pops in as a journalist to document the Lovings, and an equally amusing Nick Kroll (very effective in this drama) defends the Lovings all the way to the Supreme Court.

The Lovings are going to change history whether they want to or not. And writer-director Jeff Nichols understands their desires so well that Loving just envelops viewers with its honest emotion and historical importance.
Best of 2016