Story comes back to life

I was reluctant to see Loving (Rialto) because this true story of the struggle of an interracial couple in early 1960s Virginia seemed like an opportunity for cinematic grandstanding.

 

LOVING

Director: Jeff Nichols
Cast: Ruth Negga, Joel Edgerton, Will Dalton, Alano Miller, Sharon Blackwood, Marton Csokas, Nick Kroll, Michael Shannon
Rating: (PG) 
Five stars (out of five)

 

Every time an American movie gets within spitting distance of a courtroom I die a little, knowing I am about to be subjected to a passionate speech about what it means to be an American.

Well, hooray for Loving because, for the most part, the lawyers are kept right out of it. In fact, we get to the Supreme Court, we see the lawyers stand to address the court and then we cut back to the couple going about their day being the family that local law says is impossible. 

In a lot of ways Richard (Joel Edgerton) and Mildred Loving (Ruth Negga) are dull. They love each other and they want to be left alone. Richard thinks they can achieve this by getting married out of state and living in a black enclave.

Unfortunately for them, people noticed and one night the law came calling. They do a deal, pleading guilty to being married and agreeing to leave Virginia.

The temptation would be to just leave that dump behind and never look back, but things are never that easy. Mildred pines for her family and the countryside in which she was raised. Civil rights are coming and she decides she wants some for herself. It is not the struggle that makes this film stand out, rather the skill of the two lead actors in making these real people and their love live again.

- Christine Powley

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