Saturday, December 03, 2016


Written and directed by Jeff Nichols, this new drama is based on a true story that eventually struck a big blow for civil rights in the '60's. This is the story of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple who marry legally in 1958 Washington D.C. but chose to live in their hometown in Virginia, where it is against the law.

     Joel Edgerton plays Richard Loving and Ruth Negga play the couple, who under threat of jail leave the state to raise their children in D.C. Mr. Edgerton plays Richard as a man of few words lumbering through the film existing only to love and protect his family. Ms. Negga adds a depth to Mildred that grows steadily as the years pass. Her quiet dignity shines throughout the film and she is excellent. Nick Kroll plays Bernard Cohen, the lawyer who takes their case to the Supreme Court. There is also a brief cameo by Michael Shannon as a Life Magazine photographer.

The dialog is sparse and the pace slow and the film drags to it's final resolution. Mr. Nichols 's script deliberately leaves out any backstory of either character. We never really get beneath the skin of Richard or Mildred. We never learn how they met or what drew them to each other in such a time of racial inequality. There is a brief moment when we learn that Richard's father worked for a black man and he grew up around other black people but nothing else about his background is explained.

It's also disappointing that when their two lawyers, Mr. Cohen and Mr. Hirschkop finally get before the Supreme court, we only hear a moment of their argument.  You would think this would be a major scene in the film and it is reduced to just a few lines.

What drives ( albeit slowly) the story is love. It is clear throughout the film (it's pretty obvious from the title) that love will conquer all regardless of the racism and laws of the time . Despite never getting under the surface, you can appreciate the hardship and battle this couple (aptly named Loving) endured for years while their feelings for each other never wavered. 

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