Buy Loving on Amazon Video // Based on the documentary The Loving Story
Written by: Jeff Nichols
Directed by: Jeff Nichols
Starring: Ruth Negga, Joel Edgerton, Nick Kroll, Michael Shannon
My rating is simple, Watch It, It Depends, Skip it. Read my previous movie reviews!
The story of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple whose challenge of their arrest for being married in Virginia went to the US Supreme Court.
The focus isn't the supreme court ruling, but the two people who just want to live as a married couple. We're not told over and over how strong their love is, we're shown through glances they share and body language. This movie's story isn't told in what's said, but by what's not said.
The direction is excellent, forging a message with history.
Jeff Nichols is one of my favorite directors with Take Shelter (2011) and Mud (2012), while I didn't like Midnight Special (2016) as much, it still had the hallmarks of a Nichols film.
The movie builds the story quickly, relying on you to fill in the blanks. It starts with a street race in the '50s. Richard (Joel Edgerton) gets some glances from white men as he's with Mildred (Ruth Negga). If you aren't familiar with the court case, you can guess where this is going based on the time period.
Despite their family's objections, they go to D.C. get get married, as Virginia outlaws their marriage. Their families object strictly based on the harassment they will assuredly receive. They get arrested shortly after returning to Virginia, pleading guilty to avoid jail time. They're forced out of town as their family and friends tell them, "you should know better." The movie is focused on these two people that just want to be together. Everything else for them, and this movie, is just background noise.
The ACLU wants to use them to fight the law. While Mildred flourishes in the limelight, Richard prefers to avoid it. He's wary and skeptical because the doubt of others has made him doubt himself. He's paranoid, wondering when the cops are going to harass them. Mildred sees this as a way to help herself and others, bringing justice.
This is a wonderfully directed film, exploring the love between two people more than anything. That makes the story feel a little light, but there is a full arc for these characters.