Loving (2016) ****

A historical drama, Loving is a beautifully composed piece of filmmaking. It is the true tale of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple, married at a time when, in some parts of the USA, including their home-state of Virginia, such unions were against the anti-miscegenation law. Their case, picked up by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), ultimately made it to the U.S. Supreme Court, resulting in a landmark 1967 ruling.
Inspired by Nancy Buirski’s 2011 The Loving Story documentary, Loving’s screenplay was written and directed by Jeff Nichols. It stars Joel Edgerton, Ruth Negga, Marton Csokas, Nick Kroll, and Michael Shannon.
True to its cinematic form, Nichols shows, rather than narrates, the unfolding events. Furthermore, Nichols’ screenplay allows for long silences, and is scarse when it comes to feeding the central characters with dialogues. Here too, the filmmaker is loyal to the real Richard and Mildred Loving who were quiet and reserved people.
Despite the profoundness of the civil-rights landmark case at hand, Nichols made an unorthodox yet wise decision to stay away from the courthouse drama. Instead, the filmmaker focused on the couple at the eye of the storm; their simple lives, daily concerns, family values, and, of course, their love for one another. In that, the film is very effective, even if, on occasion, a little tiring.
Loving subtly shows us that being one step above slavery is still two steps below equality. We are reminded that what we may take for granted, was not always so; that social liberties were earned on the backs of simple people who paid a price. Praises to the director, the fantastic cast, and especially Joel Edgerton, Ruth Negga, as well as the camera work and the art direction.