Not long ago I reviewed the Jeff Nichols film The Midnight Special, but his latest film Loving couldn’t be more different. While The Midnight Special was a Sci-Fi road trip movie, Loving is based on the true story of the Lovings who fought for their right to be married in Virginia as an interracial couple all the way to the Supreme Court. What is the same however, is that the movie is very good (and it has a lot of the same actors).
There is not a lot to the Lovings’ story that you couldn’t have guessed or just remembered from US history. They were a young couple that loved each other, got married, and then Virginia arrested them then kicked them out of the state. If they came back to Virginia together they could be thrown in jail for five to twenty-five years. Now if someone hated me that much, I would probably would want to leave and never go back, but Virginia was home and it was where the Lovings’ family lived, so with the help of the ACLU they fought for their right to move back.
What I loved about this movie is that it didn’t amp up the drama to nth degree by having tense moment after tense moment. That is not to say there isn’t tension in this movie, but just that it is not artificially created. Loving tells the sweet and gentle story about the Lovings, and that is more than enough to carry this movie. It is enough that two people who loved each other deeply just wanted to live together by their family in the county they grew up in. It was wise to not raise the stakes unnecessarily.
All good character dramas need good characters brought to life by good actors, and Loving has that covered. Jeff Nichols has collected a great group of actors to be in his films, and they make this movie seem effortless. You will believe that these are the same people that defied Virginia’s terrible marriage laws and won. Ruth Negga who played Mildred Loving was the standout with her amazing performance, so it is no wonder that she has been nominated for an Academy Award.
You should watch Loving. It is sweet and stirring, and the good guys win in the end. Jeff Nichols is making quite the name for himself, and I will be very interested in what he does next. If you are looking for a movie about love this Valentines season, Loving is a great choice.