In July of 1958 Richard Loving (Edgerton) traveled to Washington DC to marry Mildred (Negga). On July 11 they became husband and wife but this simple act was to spark debate and outrage and would lead to the arrest, in the dead of night, of the young couple just 5 weeks later. And this was just the beginning of a struggle that would end up some 10 years later before the Supreme Court of the United States of America.
Because Richard was a white man and Mildred was a black woman and at the time, the marriage between an inter-racial couple was outlawed in their home state of Virginia. At their hearing, the Lovings pleaded guilty and were given a choice. They could each serve a year in prison or they could choose to leave the state for 25 years.
They chose to leave their family, friends and their entire lives behind because they loved each other. It was nothing more, it was nothing less.
It was love.
What followed was a happy, strong marriage that produced 3 children and lasted until Richard was tragically killed by a drunk driver in 1975.
This movie is a quiet, subdued and absorbing tale. There is nothing special about the Lovings which is why their story is all the more fascinating. They are simple folk, Richard is a bricklayer and Mildred is a stay at home mother and that they are front and centre of a struggle that would ultimately change laws makes for compelling viewing.
Negga is extraordinary as the soft spoken Mildred and thoroughly deserved her Oscar nomination. Quietly determined and of a gentle nature, her spine was clearly made of solid steel as she navigated the unfamiliar terrain for herself and her family. That Edgerton was overlooked for an Oscar is an absolute travesty. Sure, he is a long-time favourite of mine but his exclusion from this year’s awards was utterly perplexing.
Loving comes at a time when, to my shame, the laws of my own country still do not allow for marriage equality for all. Sure the terrain is a little different but the struggle is the same. Love is love is love.
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Director: Jeff Nichols
Starring: Ruth Negga, Joel Edgerton, Will Dalton, Michael Shannon, Marton Csokas, Nick Kroll, Jon Bass (II)
Running Time: 123 minutes
Release Date: In Cinemas Now
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