‘Loving’ tells of an old story, but it has never felt more current. Initially set in 1959, it tells the simple story of Richard and Mildred, who fell in love. But it is Virginia, and it is still illegal for them to fall in love because he is white, and she is black. The film opens when she tells him she is pregnant, and he asks her to marry him. They go to Washington D.C. to get married and within days of their return, they get arrested.
This is a quiet film, and at times it felt too quiet and slow. It never really brews to something explosive, and even the ending – bombastic in theory – is filled with silence. I don’t think I would be giving anything away – the case was celebrated and was escalated to the Supreme Court. But Director Jeff Nichols has opted for a lot of restraint here, and I have to admit at times it felt frustrating. But it is still rewarding to see this, if only to watch the great performances of Joel Edgerton (as Richard) and Ruth Negga (as Mildred) A lot is expressed through their eyes, and when you see a slumped Edgerton feeling defeated, you cannot help but feel the weight of the world on his shoulders. Negga can express multitudes of emotions in a single stare of her doe eyes, and a smile that hides her pain. I hope they both get his and hers Nominations.
But more importantly, now more than ever, this film shows that even if we have come forward from all the discrimination, there is a major threat out there that this will be taken away from us. I hope ‘Loving’ opens the eyes of Americans.