Monday, July 3, 2017

Loving - Jeff Nichols (2016)

"Loving" is the story of Ruth and George Edgerton, two lovers whose marriage flourishes in the face of a society of hate.

This film is a gem from last year that was unjustly overlooked.

It follows the story of an interracial couple, Richard and Mildred Loving and their battle from their first arrest in Caroline County, Virginia right up the historic Supreme Court ruling that banned laws persecuting interracial couples.

Right from the start, we look through a window right into to intimacy and warmth of Mildred and Richard's relationship.
It's a very muted opening scene.

We see the two of them their faces and bodies just so close to each other. There are only a few sentences of dialogue, but director Jeff Nichols shows us their love rather than ruining the beautiful moment with words.

The film takes us through the lives of the Lovings as they fall in love and establishing a family while facing seemingly rock-hard, enduring persecution. 

Their fight starts when the couple is arrested for the crime of entering into an "unnatural" marriage.  It follows the Lovings as the couple turn their romance turns into a solid, devoting family.

But their love comes with a price.  The Lovings are arrested by Caroline County officials and ordered to split up or leave the state.

They choose to move to D.C. and start their lives there.  But more trouble comes when they visit Virginia so she could have her baby there.  They are arrested again and when they get back to D.C., their fight begins in earnest.

The ACLU hears of their case and of course, they take an interest.

Of course, the ending is a part of our history.  The Supreme Court made a significant decision during the battle happening across the country for civil liberties.

Often, people look back on the 50's with such nostalgia.  That era is remembered by many as a wholesome time, just like on "Leave it to Beaver," "Father Knows Best," etc.
But "Loving" reminds us that the times were oppressive for so many Americans. 

I found myself thanking God that kind of institutionalized racism is a thing of the past.
Then I remembered that Jeff Sessions is our Attorney General.

"Loving" is one of those films that tries to be two things at once.  And it accomplishes it beautifully. The film is a wonderful, touching romance and an invigorating political at the same time.

You probably missed it the first time around, so seek it out now.  This film will be watched and discussed for years and ignoring it would be a desperate injustice.

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