Loving

ho00004111Based on the true story of Richard and Mildred Loving, who were arrested and convicted by the state of Virginia for the crime of interracial marriage and banished from the state. Their case would find its way to the Supreme Court.

Written and directed by Jeff Nichols, the filmmaker behind Take Shelter, Mud and Midnight Special this bears all of his hallmarks and is not the sort of film you expect a civil rights drama to be. As with his other films, the story unfolds at a gentle pace, building gradually, relying on the looks and body language of the characters on-screen. There are no grandstanding court scenes, no stirring speeches, and no title cards signposting the passage of time. Arguably it is too sedate, but there are moments when it really works. Because what this film is really about is a couple who love each other. The fact that they changed the world around them is secondary.

Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton play the title roles and their performances are quiet, unassuming and in places beautiful. There is no need for us to see this couple meet and fall in love, or see any grand gestures of that love. The story starts with them as a couple and we see their love for each other in quiet moments through their body language and looks. Jeff Nichols talismanic actor Michael Shannon appears as a photographer for Life magazine late in the film and in one of the best scenes in the film seeks to capture these moments.

By the point the film reaches a close and the first title cards appear you will have been stirred by the love two people can have for each other. The fact they managed to hold together through such turbulent times is even more testament to that love.

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