LOVING tells the true story of Richard and Mildred Loving, whose arrest and banishment for interracial marriage began a legal battle that would reshape American marriage laws.
After crossing the border to wed, Richard (Australian Joe Edgerton) and Mildred (Ruth Negga) who is pregnant with their first child, are forced to leave their home state of Virginia, threatened with 25 years imprisonment should they ever return.
It’s a sad tale…even sadder when you consider it happened in the lifetime of many of our readers; it’s not ancient history.
Written and Directed by Jeff Nichols (MIDNIGHT SPECIAL), LOVING plays out like a glorified documentary reenactment….except incredibly pretty and much better acted!
You have to admire his respect for the facts. Using the 2011 documentary THE LOVING STORY (which contained real footage of the Loving couple) Nichols had a wealth of accurate source material to draw from – and draw from it he did!
Nichols hasn’t sacrificed accuracy for entertainment value. The film’s pace is slow – much like the eight years of ‘banishment’ must have felt for the Lovings. Even the portrayal of Richard and Mildred remain faithful, with Edgerton and Negga embodying their reserved and quiet dignity. Despite the emotional subject matter, their performances are incredibly understated.
Even much of the dialogue in the film mirrors real conversation between the couple caught on tape.
While I admire Nichol’s integrity and faithfulness, it does result in a slightly less engaging movie. Nichols is to be commended for not turning the film into a hyped up, cliched blockbuster at the expense of the facts…but I also can’t help but feel even a little artistic licence may have broadened the mainstream appeal.
Visually, the flick is nothing short of stunning, with exceptional use of light, considered composition and beautiful locations.
LOVING is a subtle, understated, gorgeous looking film that tells an important true story. Though some may argue it’s a little too understated. I rate it 7 out of 10.
LOVING is out on DVD now, you can also have a listen to our interview with the director Jeff Nichols here.