"absorb this compelling tale, superbly acted by Negga and Edgerton; just be prepared for it to take it’s time to get going"
Imagine being told that you can’t be with the person you love. Imagine loving someone and being told that it’s supposedly wrong and against the law. Imagine being arrested for such a desire – well for interracial couple Mildred and Richard the two faced exactly that in 1958, Virginia.
Critically acclaimed Director Jeff Nichols, the mastermind behind Midnight Special and Take Shelter brings heart and a profound message in the middle of his latest venture, Loving.
If you think about it, 1958 isn’t that long ago. For a white person to be in love with a black person and marry them was considered against the law and simply couldn’t happen. The fact that during this time such a law was even considered is deeply sickening. Anger and frustration rear their ugly heads and quite rightly so, not to mention the deepest emotion of all – love. With a combination of virtually all emotions, the journey that we go on with this couple is both uplifting and a terribly important part of history that all should be aware of.
From the get go we are trapped in this whirlwind of events as we quickly find out Mildred is pregnant. Richard being quite the prince charming here takes her to get legally married in Washington where such things were expectable but perhaps his feelings got the better of his actions?
Upon returning to their home, they quickly become the talk of the village and the local police’s new obsession, resulting in their arrest and a court order served stating they cannot enter the county of Virginia together for the next 25 years. They have each other, yet separated from their home, family and friends which is quite the price to pay for being with someone you care for. Seeing this couple deeply in love being treated as though they don’t exist in front of a court room is horrifying and it’s only when a particular lawyer takes interest in their case that the ball finally gets rolling.
Nichols tends to take on emotive and powerful narratives and Loving is just that. Nichols usually provides us with some extraordinary vibes, but here on the surface this appears to be a very human and seemingly ordinary plot. He is also a man that likes to take his time in telling such stories and here the running time takes its toll. Seat shuffling emerges and the need for a bit of fire to truly ignite this meaningful tale is anticipated.
At times this feels as though it is holding back. Through many convoluted scenes of silence and reflection, which is essential to a degree when telling such a tale, yet when the story hits its climax we are only given about five minutes of satisfaction before cleverly placed text appears on the screen to explain the rest. Ruth Negga does a stellar job of a black woman during this time period; providing us with a softly spoken demure demeanour. A composition that would hopefully not get her trouble despite the colour of her skin. Edgerton is a true gent here. Going out of his way to marry the woman he loves and create a family even though he knows it’s wrong but the fact that he did and the world finally saw how ludicrous such laws were is astonishing.
Released this Friday, absorb this compelling tale, superbly acted by Negga and Edgerton; just be prepared for it to take it’s time to get going.