STARRING: Joel Edgerton, Ruth Negga, Marton Csokas, Nick Kroll and Michael Shannon
The story of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple, whose challenge of their anti-miscegenation arrest for their marriage in Virginia led to a legal battle that would end at the US Supreme Court.
Loving is based on the true story of Richard and Mildred Loving, a couple that drive to Washington, D.C to marry as interracial marriage violates Virginia’s anti-miscegenation laws. Their case against the state would lead to a legal battle that would end at the US Supreme Court that became a landmark civil rights decision of the United States Supreme Court, which invalidated laws prohibiting interracial marriage.
Loving is the latest feature from Jeff Nichols where this time he adapts the true story of Richard and Mildred Loving, a couple whose marriage violated the anti-miscegenation laws in Virginia in the late 50’s/60’s. It’s an interesting story that I certainly never knew about and with Jeff Nichols helming the film, I was eagerly anticipating his next feature after Midnight Special and finally got around to watching it this week.
I think Nichols has made a very beautiful looking film, particularly in how he focuses the lens on the loving partnership between Richard and Mildred Loving, with some nice cinematography work from Adam Stone. The performances from the co-leads Edgerton and Negga help elevate the film on the material they’re working with. Edgerton brings forth a stoic performance as Richard, a man with little to say but when he does it’s professing his love for Mildred and Edgerton delivered those certain lines convincingly to me. Ruth Negga on the other hand is the star of the film as Mildred, the one that pursues justice for how the state of Virginia is treating her and Richard’s marriage while Richard follows her down that path. It’s Negga’s most mature performance I’ve seen so far and remembering her from her small roles on television series Misfits and Love/Hate, it’s terrific to see her grow as an actress and she definitely earned that Oscar nomination for her performance here. The score from David Wingo was also a personal highlight for me.
While Nichols stays true to the story, it’s told in such an understated way that the film for some people can come across as slow, dull and that the plot moves at a sails pace which I can’t say I would disagree with that especially in the middle act. The narrative of Loving v Virginia seems to suggest that the timeline within the film takes place within a couple of years rather than the nine years it took from their marriage to the Supreme Court case to come full circle to overcome their struggle. Basically the narrative of the film is as understated as the performances of the co-leads.
An important tale about the Loving’s that feature very good performances from Joel Edgerton and especially Ruth Negga, the films narrative could come across as dull for some film goers as progresses the story at such a slow, soft pace. 6/10