Loving (2016)

Cast includes: Ruth Negga (World War Z), Joel Edgerton (Warrior), Terri Abney (Triple 9), Alano Miller (Underground), Sharon Blackwood (Sweet Home Alabama)
Writer/Director: Jeff Nichols (Mud, Take Shelter)
Genre: Drama | History | Biography (123 minutes)


Huffington Post

“I’m pregnant,” says Mildred, expecting Rich to be upset. A slow smile comes over his face. All he says is, “That’s real good.” Rich’s emotions are always understated. “Mighty nice of you boys to let us race with y’all.” The drag race is almost black vs white, except that Rich is the mechanic for the colored team, and they’ve won again. Rich thinks their car still needs more work. Rich can fix or build most anything. He takes Mildred out to a big field about a half-mile from “the house I’ve been knowing all my life.” “I bought it,” he tells her. “This whole acre. I’m gonna build you a house… Would you marry me?”

“You sure ‘bout that? Don’t make no sense, man.” Rich’s friend says. But the couple go to Washington DC anyway, where they get married… “Less red tape. That’s all.” Once again Rich is understating the issue. This is 1958, and it’s illegal for Mildred and Rich to get married in Virginia because he’s white and she’s colored. “Sheriff’s deputy came by looking for you,” says Ms. Lola, Rich’s mother. The sheriff waits until nighttime to come back... busting into the couple’s bedroom while they sleep. When Rich points to the marriage license, the sheriff tells him, “That’s no good here.” A few days in jail help the couple focus on what they need to do… take the deal. They need to plead guilty of being married against the law and leave the state for 25 years. It’s going to be hard because Mildred and Rich grew up here and all their family’s here. Ms. Lola doesn’t have much sympathy. “I thought you liked her,” Rich says to his mother. “I like a lotta people. That don’t mean you should’a gone and done what you did. You should’a known better.

Over the next 10 years, Mildred and Rich Loving start a family and try to make a home for their children… all the while, feeling cut off from the the community they love. “All this talk about civil rights… you need to get you some civil rights.” That gets Mildred thinking. A letter to Bobby Kennedy leads to a visit by the ACLU. But don’t think the Lovings were outspoken champions of civil rights. They were deeply ordinary in many ways… Rich never wanting to make waves and Mildred never wanting to upset Rich. “If they let us back in the state, we won’t bother anyone.” But as we now know, this case had to go all the way to the Supreme Court before Mildred and Rich could live together legally as man and wife. Based on actual events, this film is beautifully made. The filmmakers chose not to add any of the usual hype we’ve come to expect in a story of such significance. Instead, they tell the story from the viewpoint of the Lovings… doing an amazing job of portraying their looks, mannerisms and simple dignity. The film may be too slow and low key for some moviegoers, but it has the potential to stay with you and give you much to think about. Anyone who lived in the South during that era will recognize many details of the ebb and flow of social relationships. Before the drama of the civil rights movement seriously started, there was a quiet status quo… when everyone knew their place. Mildred and Rich weren’t the type of people to challenge the status quo. For them, there was only one thing that mattered… “Tell them I love my wife.”

popcorn rating

4 popped kernels

The Supreme Court case that overturned the ban on mixed race marriages

Popcorn Profile

Rated: PG-13
Audience: Grown-ups
Gender Style: Sensitive
Distribution: Mainstream Limited Release
Mood: Sober
Tempo: P In No Hurry
Visual Style: Nicely Varnished Realism
Nutshell: Loving vs Virginia
Language: True to life
Social Significance: Informative & Thought Provoking

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