First Hit: A sweet and expressive film about true love.
The overflowing sweetness of this true story is accentuated by difficulties our society, specifically the State of Virginia’s anti-miscegenation statute which prohibited marriage between people classified as white and colored. The film shares how this couple persevered.
Richard Loving (Joel Edgerton), a bricklayer and race car enthusiast, never saw color. His quiet way of being was congruent with his life as expressed in the active conscious quality he put into his work, his abilities for making cars faster and his love for his girlfriend Mildred (Ruth Negga). Mildred’s family owned the race car he worked on part time and was part of their family. When Mildred gets pregnant with their child, he buys an acre of land to build their home and asks her to marry him.
Because of the Virginia laws, they run off to Washington DC to get married as Virginia won’t let an interracial couple marry. However, one night the home they are staying in is raided and they get thrown into jail.
This naïve couple hire a lawyer who cuts a deal with the judge, if they plead guilty, to leave the state and not return for 25 years. They end up in DC and it isn’t the life they want together. Mildred especially dislikes the city as her, now three, children have few places to play outside.
Mildred writes a letter to U.S. Attorney General Bobby Kennedy gets a response by the ACLU. Attorney Bernie Cohen (Nick Kroll) takes the case and because the statute of limitations have passed, he has to find a way to get it back into court. One day he meets civil litigator Philip Herschkop (Jon Bass) and together they find a way to get the case re-heard, appeal it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The feel of the late 1950’s through 1968 was amazingly shared on the screen. The way people talked, the cars, and the settings were wonderfully created and filmed. The director, Jeff Nichols, made this interesting even though Richard was mainly soft spoken, quiet, and man of few words. Pacing was important to keep the audience engaged and Nichols made this really work.
Edgerton was sublimely strong and clear in his silent way. You felt his pain and clarity of his love of Mildred. Negga was fantastic as Mildred. Her strength building through the film resulted in their decision to take their case forward. Kroll and Bass did a wonderful job of being the Loving's lawyers. Nichols wrote a superb screenplay and his direction was clear and true.
Overall: Loving was lovely.