Loving full movie review - Loved it!
'Loving' was outstanding. I know I review a lot of films that star a person people I love, but this film was one of the best ones I saw this year (Moonlight. GO SEE IT).
I hesitated even writing that, thinking it couldn't be true, but it was. I was emotionally vested, riveted and compelled by it. Jeff Nichols' did a beautiful job directing this film in its fantastic simplicity, allowing Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton to deliver stellar performances as Mildred & Richard Loving. Joel Edgerton specifically stood out to me as I was a fan of his since King Arthur with Clive Owen (love Clive to death, but it was bad) and I absolutely love seeing him on film. He was remarkable as Richard Loving, communicating so much with his eyes and body language, I think it was a role that challenged him and I appreciate the impeccable job he did. Equally talented, Ruth Negga was also outstanding as Mildred Loving. She communicated so much just through her eyes! She is a very talented young woman who will have one outstanding career ahead of her. Marton Csokas and Michael Shannon make short but memorable appearances, honesty though both men are superbly talented so it's a real treat to have them pop up in smaller roles. Fun fact: Jeff Nichols directed Michael Shannon in another film I really liked, "Take Shelter".
This film is about two people in love, an understated but very deep love which altered the very course of American history. 'Loving' begins in the late 1950s, right when racial tension was at its highest, just as the Civil Rights Movement was gaining momentum. Compounded by this and social pressures from within their community, the Lovings were forced to live in fear and even meet under cover of night. No one should have to live like this, ever. Nichols did a wonderful job of illustrating just how much this impacted their lives. How this couple, who only wanted to have a family and be together in peace, lived in a persistent state of paranoia fearing violence or worse just because they loved each other. It really is beyond all comprehension, that a black woman and a white male would be violating law simply being married. That tune sounds very familiar doesn't it, when likened to present day? All those lovely gay couples who can't hold hands just because they are scared that you are unable to mind your own damn business. Such a shame.
'Loving' is also about hope. The beautiful glory of hope and love. Even despite everything, all the adversity and hardship there is always hope. That was one thing I really took away from the film. When asked how she is able to keep fighting, Mildred Loving, played by the wonderful Ruth Negga, says: Well, you loose the small battles to win the big war." This film is also about freedom, liberty and rights. This is the land of the free after all, but only free if you're not black, or gay, or anything not considered the status quo. The Lovings fought for years tooth and nail for the right to be able to love each other and raise a family the poignant part of this film to me is the ridiculous fact that they had to endure years of crap for something they should've had all along.
Overall the film was just wonderful, I was moved and felt it in a very real way. The story is palpable from many perspectives which I think was a pretty challenging feat for Nichols accomplish, but he did so with efficacy. The narrative is clear: Love is love, live and let live. I say go see it, fall in love and carry it with you.