Saturday, November 19, 2016

Movie Review: Loving


Before I saw Loving, I knew it was based on an actual court case, Loving v. Virginia, that sought to prohibit discrimination against interracial marriage. However, I didn't know much about the real people behind the case, Mildred and Richard Loving, and this film helped provide insight into their lives.

Richard Loving (Joel Edgerton) and Mildred Jeter (Ruth Negga, 12 Years a Slave) want to get married, as Mildred is pregnant, but it's unlawful to do so in their state of Virginia; therefore, they drive up to D.C. and get married there. When authorities in their county in Virginia find out what happened, they drag them out of their home in the middle of the night, to jail; Richard gets out fairly easy, but they leave pregnant Mildred there for the weekend, until her father arrives to post bail. Eventually, Richard and Mildred get their day in court, where their lawyer negotiates a deal: the 1-year prison sentence will be waived, however, the two of them cannot come back to Virginia together for the next 25 years.

Both Richard and Mildred's families live in Virginia, so this is extremely hard on them; they move to D.C. and stay with a cousin, where they start building their family, but eventually Mildred gets tired of this and wants to come back. She writes a letter to (at the time) Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, who refers to her a lawyer working with the ACLU, which gets the ball rolling.

The acting was very good in this film. Joel Edgerton, who is nearly unrecognizable with a new haircut and yellowing teeth, plays Robert Loving, and Ruth Negga does a great job too, as Mildred Jeter Loving. Michael Shannon also pops up in a small cameo later on in the movie, as Grey Villet, the LIFE magazine photographer who took photos of the Lovings for an article back in the '60s. Nick Kroll (I Love You, Man) also has a supporting role, as the inexperienced lawyer whom the ACLU assigns to the Lovings.

Yes, see this movie. My only complaint is that it's a little slow, and probably could have been shortened a bit (it has a 2 hour, 3 minute runtime); that being said, I'm not sure what scenes I would have removed. Both Edgerton and Negga are great in their roles, as are the supporting cast, and the state of Virginia practically has a role as well, since it's the state that is preventing the two of them from coming home. I wouldn't be surprised if this gets some buzz come award season, too, based on the performances given.

Loving is currently playing in theaters, and is rated PG-13 with a runtime of 123 minutes. 4 stars out of 5.


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