Did you know that interracial marriage wasn’t always legal in the United States? In the non-fiction, historical-drama film , ‘Loving,’ directed by Jeff Nichols, the audience follows two main characters — a black woman, Mildred, and a white man, Richard — who fall in love and want to get married despite obstacles; however, it’s not that simple.
Both lived most of their lives in the small town of Central Point, Virginia, which takes place in the late 1960’s, where interracial marriage was illegal at the time, and one was only allowed to marry someone of his or her own race. The movie is told through Mildred and Richard’s eyes. While they are living in Virginia, police arrest them in their own home, in the middle of the night, for breaking the anti-miscegenation laws of their state. They move to the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., to get married and to raise their three children. Little did they know that during this time, with the rise of the Civil Rights Movement, their experience with the law would be a gateway to make a change for equality.
Both Joel Edgarton and Ruth Negga do a satisfying job in their roles as Richard and Mildred. They have good chemistry on emotional scenes, such as, powerful expressions on their faces so the audience would figure out what they were feeling, some could see them working together in the future. Bernie Cohen, played by Nick Kroll, is the lawer who picks up this case. This character plays as comic relief because he is an ackward person as a result of the words he uses and his posture on scene, which is what Nichols is going for. His partner Phill Bass, played by Jon Bass, is the more serious lawer that keeps him in check. Both of these characters do a good job of creating suspense in the film.
As the story unfolds, the audience can’t help but side with and cheer on the couple because of the connection they have and everything they have been through. Some people at the time got harassed for being in a multi-racial relationship; they were judged by peers and loved ones. The love that Mildred and Richard share for each other and the conflicted emotions that others have toward them make it clear that this story is going to pull at some heartstrings.
The Movie’s cinematographer Adam Stone, portrays police in the movie as villains who will do anything to get the protagonists in jail. Stone uses dark lighting and body language well with these characters, highlighting the use of their aggressive nature and atmosphere that is apparent.
However, throughout the movie it was hard to understand the dialogue between characters because of their accents and soft voices, which some could argue made the movie more realistic, but at times made the conversations harder to understand.
As the movie continues, you feel the injustice of these laws. The government is dictating who people are allowed to love and marry. Mildred and Richard are everyday people who weren’t looking for fame or publicity but rather just wanted what most of us desire, a person to love and be with forever and a chance at happiness. This movie is a must see for those looking for good character development, an authentic snapshot of that time and an emotionally uplifting story that will put you in the shoes of the people who fought against the law.
Run time: 123 minutes
Director: Jeff Nichols
Actors/Actresses: Joel Edgerton as Richard, Ruth Negga as Mildred, Michael Shannon as Grey Villet, Nick Kroll as Bernie Cohen, Marton Csokas as Sheriff Brooks, Alano Miller as Raymond Green, and Jon Bass as Phil Bass