Loving movie full length review - This is a relevant and relatable film which focuses on the love story behind the headlines.
Starting in colonial times, American laws restricted with which other consenting adults people could have sex and/or enter into marriage, using arguments of religion and tradition to justify such laws.
Over the ensuing two centuries plus, state legislatures repealed some of these laws and courts struck down others, but many of these statutes remained on the books, and some were even enforced until the late 20th and early 21st centuries. In June 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, striking down state laws prohibiting same-sex marriage. In the years of court cases leading up to that moment, lawyers arguing against those laws frequently cited as precedent the 1967 Supreme Court decision of Loving v. Virginia, the case which struck down laws banning interracial marriage. The decade-long fight that ended on that June day in 1967 is portrayed in the biopic "Loving" (PG-13, 2:03), but this film is no police procedural or even a courtroom drama. It's much more, and less.
Richard Loving (Joel Edgerton) and Mildred Loving (Ruth Negga) are happily married and starting a family in late 1950s' Virginia. The problem for them is that Richard is a white man and Mildred is a "colored" woman (as in "nonwhite" ? in her case, part African American and part Native American). Since interracial marriage was illegal in the Commonwealth of Virginia, Richard and Mildred had gotten married up in Washington D.C. But the location of the ceremony didn't matter to the Caroline County Sheriff (Marton Csokas), who barged into the Lovings' bedroom late one night and arrested them both. Richard was bailed out the next morning, but bail was denied Mildred for two days. The couple's historic legal odyssey and, more important to this film, the impact on the Lovings and their families, had begun.
Not surprisingly, their desire to be left alone to quietly live out their lives as husband and wife and raise their family was of no concern to the authorities in Caroline County ? or in other courts who heard their case years later. Richard hired a local lawyer (Bill Camp) who worked out a deal with Judge Bazile (David Jensen) that if the Lovings pled guilty, their mandatory minimum one year jail sentence would be suspended if they left the state for at least 25 years. Richard and Mildred both reluctantly agreed. They promptly moved out of the home they shared with Mildred's family and moved in with other relatives up in Washington D.C. When the time for Mildred to deliver her first baby was near, the couple decided to sneak back into Virginia so Richard's mother (Sharon Blackwood), a midwife, could deliver their son. Again, they were arrested, again, their lawyer got them out of trouble and, again, they went to D.C.
As their family grew to include a second son and a daughter, the Lovings tried to make the most of their lives in Washington D.C. Richard resumed his former job as a home builder and Mildred took care of the children. She began to despair, however, that her kids didn't have the green fields and the room to run and play in the city that they would have back home? and she also desperately missed her family. The Lovings decided to move back to Virginia, do their best to lay low and take their chances with the law. It's about this time that an ACLU attorney (Nick Kroll) revives their legal efforts to get their marriage recognized in their home state. Through this legal strategizing, the increased danger to the family and the loss of their privacy (even hosting a Life Magazine photographer, played by Michael Shannon, to build publicity for their case), the Lovings did their best to stay strong and just keep loving each other.
"Loving" makes for great historical drama, but it's primarily a touching love story. It's based on Nancy Buirski's award-winning 2012 HBO documentary "The Loving Story", but stayed focused on the Loving family's personal experiences ? from their point of view. In doing so, writer/director Jeff Nichols humanizes a very important episode from recent American history and surpasses expectations as to what a movie about this topic would be like. Although the movie drags in parts, its authentic and impactful dialog, its award-worthy performances by its two stars and its emphasis on the more personal aspects of this real-life drama make this movie more than just a story about the Lovings. It's an important and especially relatable story about? loving. "A-"