Loving (2016)

brooke I’m just gonna say it: this was a solid movie.

casey “Loving…Not bad at all!” rave us.

brooke Pretty good and much simpler than I anticipated.

casey Loving dramatizes the story of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial Virginia couple who were married in 1958 and had the temerity to live in a state that still outlawed it, which ultimately led to a Supreme Court decision invalidating all laws against interracial marriage. However, the emphasis here is less on legal wrangling than on the couple’s personal lives. They were not activists, just people trying to live in peace who had to be coaxed over many years into challenging the unjust law. Joel Edgerton plays Richard as a stoic, somewhat inarticulate but dependable provider, while Rugh Negga steals the show portraying Mildred’s quiet but persistent resolve as she slowly become the driving force behind their case in spite of her husband’s reluctance. At times the story drags, but Loving a low key and biting reminder of how openly cruel the United States has been in our not too distant past.

brooke It was heartbreaking to watch the Lovings forced to pack up and leave their home after their marriage. I’m sort of relieved that there weren’t long courtroom scenes given the nature of the couple. They didn’t have to stand in a courtroom, they were defiant in the act of getting married, which is what makes them such interesting people. Instead, their lawyers testify on their behalf in a few short scenes, and the movie follows the same quiet, stoic beats that Mildred and Richard embody.

casey If anything I could have used more conflict. The movie rarely goes above a low dramatic simmer, even when the Lovings are targeted by a particularly nasty sheriff or threatened by Richard’s racist coworkers. That restraint works for the most part (the scene where Mildred learns about their Supreme Court victory is quietly beautiful) but it might have been heightened with a touch of melodrama. In any case, the soul of Loving is in the moments between Richard and Mildred, like a night they spend together watching television while being documented by a Life magazine photographer. The scenes with their legal team almost seem pulled from a different movie, which works in the sense that the lawyers really are a fast-paced world apart from the one the Lovings prefer to inhabit.

brooke Right. It’s just them living their life together and the history-altering Supreme Court case that hinges on them is a disruption to their otherwise normal existence.

casey Normal but extraordinary in its own way! Anyway, I recommend Loving. It’s not essential, but it manages to establish a unique rhythm and style compared to other historical dramas that deal with similar themes.

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