Monday, September 12, 2016

TIFF 2016: Loving

Loving is the true story of a mixed-race couple (Joel Edgerton As Richard Loving and Ruth Negga as Mildred) who marry in 1958, when mixed-race marriage was against the law in their home state of Virginia. They travel to Washington DC to wed, and get arrested shortly after their return hone, when the local police sneak into their home and drag them off to jail.

The story is firmly from the perspective of their life together, as they move to DC as part of a deal to keep them out of jail, raise their three children and become the basis of an ACLU challenge to the law that goes to the Supreme Court. You can guess how that went. Interestingly, Director Jeff Nicholas chose to leave the court scenes almost completely out of the film. At the Q&A after the film he said there is a documentary that covers that side, and since the Lovings did not themselves attend at court, he decided to focus on them.  

In keeping with their actual personalities, the screenplay offers very spare dialog. We know that Richard Loving loves his wife (he does say so once) but he says very little throughout the film. He comes across as a decent hard working family man, but has no interest in being political or becoming a cause célebre. The film is very slow-paced and quiet, and while we do care about the couple at the centre of the story, not a lot really happens. But the impact of thinking about an injustice that was still going on in my lifetime (their marriage was a few days before I was born) is powerful enough on its own.

TIFF 2016 Overview

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