The story of Loving is very well made and is one of the most calm and patient dramas I’ve ever seen. The story follows Mildred and Richard Loving throughout their decade-long battle against the state of Virginia to keep their right to remain married. The story does a fine job of following the lives of the Lovings as closely as possible all without adding nonsensical things that never happened in favor of forced drama. The story has a relatively slow pace that allows the relationship between our main characters grow as well as having the magnitude of what is happening to them sink in with us. An interesting approach this film takes is the fact that so much of it is calm and quiet, not much seems to happen at first glance just the Loving’s and their growing family living their day to day lives. And therein lies the beauty of it – the calmness allows us to appreciate the love that the two have for each other and when something does happen, it resonates strongly. The scene where the police break into the Loving’s home in the dead of night to arrest them was startling and frightful. Te scenes where Richard is stalked by another driver and threatened by an unknown co-worker are unnerving. The scene where we learn that the Virginia lawyers would use the Loving’s own children against them in court was absolutely sickening all because the film chose to bide it’s time and wait to spring these on us in a jarring though necessary fashion. The story in a whole is also painfully relevant to what is happening today. Certain moments brought to mind the recent Women’s March on Washington and the massive protests to the Muslim ban and though it is hard to accept the fact that such horrible things are still happening and people still need to keep fighting, it is still comforting to see that in the end good will triumph not matter how difficult.
The characters for Loving are well written
Mildred and Richard Loving are both written incredibly well. There is wonderful character development between the two of them that made them stronger and more engaging as the film progressed. Every bad thing, every moment of fear constantly left an impact. In one scene where Mildred wants to to have her first child in Virginia, despite the two being forbidden from being in the state at the same time, I found myself almost losing my mind when Richard stayed with her rather then leaving and be safe. But I guess that is the most important aspect of these characters that they’re, well, loving of each other and their relationship is shown to be sweet and tender which in the calmer parts of the movie make for some truly nice moments.
Acting for Loving is well done
Ruth Negga was almost completely unrecognizable to me. I know her mainly from her work in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and Preacher so the role of Mildred Loving was something completely different to me. She gives a marvelous performance as Mildred being incredibly moving and calm, a far cry from what she usually does. She manages to become her character perfectly coming off truly as a loving wife and mother who will fight tooth and nail against an unjustice system rather then a manipulative young woman in a flower dress.
Joel Edgerton does a fine job as Richard Loving. Edgerton gives the impression of being a hard and stern man but is instead a complete juxtaposition, instead being a gentle and loving husband. Edgerton and Negga both have excellent chemistry with one another and work off of each other beautifully making for a truly enjoyable and engaging film.
The remainder of the cast doesn’t leave too much of an impression as they’re not utilized much. And why not? The film is about the Loving’s after all. But every not and again someone truly does stand out. Michael Shannon was a bit of a disappointment as he only appears briefly though still manages to give an enjoyable performance like he always does despite what little he has. Terri Abney who plays Mildred’s sister Garnet manages to have a handful f truly strong moments from time to time. Marton Csokas was down right detestable as the villainous Sheriff Brooks managing to give off an aura of menace and hate just by simply standing idle.
Final Thoughts: I truly regret not having the opportunity to have seen Loving in theaters. The story is well made and truly knows when to have strong drama and quiet character building, the characters are well written and the acting is strong especially from out two leads. With Valentine’s Day in less then a week Loving is the perfect film to watch with those you love be they family or friends.