Thursday, November 10, 2016
Loving Review - 3½ Stars
"Loving" begins with Richard Loving's girlfriend Mildred declaring, "I'm pregnant." Richard says "good," and asks her to marry him. This bold proposal from a white man to a black woman took place in 1958 in rural Virginia, where the law forbid mixed marriage. The couple drives to Washington, D.C., where marriage is possible, tie the knot, and return home to Virginia. Local authorities are not pleased. One dark night, the police barge in and arrest the couple. Their lawyer strikes a bargain with the local judge, who waives jail time in exchange for their agreement to leave the state for 25 years. Family, homesickness and a love of Virginia make this impossible. Finally, small quiet Mildred steps up and writes Attorney General Bobby Kennedy, who puts the American Civil Liberties Union on the case. It takes ten years, but ultimately their case goes to the Supreme Court. The law against their marriage is ruled unconstitutional. "Loving" takes the facts of this story and gives them quiet power and dignity. Joel Edgerton plays Richard Loving as a quiet man, who prefers to keep his emotions private. Ruth Negga makes Mildred Loving a deep well, a "Steel Magnolia," who quietly prods and leads her husband to make history. The movie looks good, and I like the way it uses cars of the various years to show the passage of time. "Loving" manages to show the bond between the couple without trying to explain it. When the case goes to the highest court, the couple doesn't even attend the hearing. Instead, Richard Loving tells his lawyer to "tell the Court, I love my wife." The excellent director Jeff Nichols directs and gives the project the quiet restraint of a small gem. Does it deliver what it promises? Surprising love story with a legal twist. Is it entertaining? True, inspiring history. Is it worth the price of admission? A lesson for all-time.