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Saturday, December 17, 2016

Thoughts on Loving

I enjoyed seeing Loving yesterday. It was a quiet drama, written and directed by Jeff Nichols, about a real-life 1960s interracial couple who were jailed and kept out of their home state of Virginia because they snuck off to get married in D.C. (Interracial marriages were not allowed in Virginia). They still kept sneaking back in, sometimes living pretty openly with their families, and eventually took their case to the Supreme Court and won, making interracial marriages legal nationwide. I thought it was interesting how they were civil rights activists, but did not see themselves as that, as they just wanted a peaceful life together, and let their lawyer handle the case in court.

Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga were both wonderful as the Lovings, a chill rural couple who lived in an integrated town and were sweet with one another. They fit together with his reserved and sort of gruff persona and her kind and introverted personality. I liked their families, and how the two families were so close and like a big blended family.

There were some jokes about Richard Loving "forgetting" that he was white, as he had so many black friends, as well as a serious mention of Mildred's sister blaming him for marrying her out of state and getting her kicked out of state and away from family, a not-subtle hint of the white man ruining their lives.

One criticism that I had was that I occasionally had trouble understanding what Edgerton was saying as Richard Loving, as he spoke with a low mumbling voice a la Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain.

Ruth Negga has these huge eyes that, while her character's story is already sympathetic, makes her even more of a sweet and endearing character, like so much of her story was told through her kind eyes.

But I thought it was interesting that the Lovings did not attend their Supreme Court case, and the film largely showed them at home, and didn't show the court trials aside from a brief snippet, to keep the film in their POV at home, and not turning it into a courtroom drama with lawyer speeches. That was an interesting change of pace in a film that is centered on a groundbreaking legal case.

This was a really good indie drama, and I am glad I saw it.

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