LOVING is a 2016 film written and directed by Jeff Nichols. It is based on the true story of interracial couple Richard and Mildred Loving, and their years-long civil rights case that went all the way to the Supreme Court in 1967. The couple went out of state to get married in Washington D.C., the state of Virginia didn't like that very much and put them in jail. And after jail, banned them from the state for 25 years.
After a new residence and three kids later, Mildred decides the city is no place for her children to grow up. Taking a friends advice she seeks the help and writes a letter to then-Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. The situation gets his attention and a lawyer from the ACLU quickly gets appointed to handle the case.
Spoiler alert, they win. What I love about LOVING is Nichols and his decision to make the civil rights aspect of the film always in the background. What is front and center is two people madly in love and just wanting to be a family. I was waiting to cringe at the Oscar bait moments concerning speeches from lawyers and judges ( if this was the 90's there would be). But there was none. In fact there wasn't one cliché. The film just shows us the power of their love.
Okay, the scene I'm about to describe may sound cheesy but I swear it's not. The Loving's just received news that the Supreme Court is taking their case. They tell the lawyers they are not going, seeing that it's not required for them to be present in Court. A tad shocked and dismayed one of the lawyers asks Richard “What do you want me to tell the Court”? Richard replies, “Tell them I love my wife”.
That scene sums up the entire film perfectly! Not to mention the whole point of the film.
LOVING certainly will be one of my favorite films of the year. Will it crack the Top 10? Doubtful. I love a good drama, but I'm a genre kinda guy. But you never know? My list so far has a lot of art-house in it. Here's a preview (in no particular order): THE NEON DEMON, SING STREET, THE NICE GUYS, GREEN ROOM, HELL OR HIGH WATER, and EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!!.
I left the theater changed after seeing LOVING. Not to get political or religious but I left a little teary-eyed thinking to myself thoughts about the 'pursuit of happiness', 'enabling rights', and who are we to judge what love is. It's good when a film fills you with emotion to stop and think about society. LOVING didn't get preachy so neither am I.
In conclusion, I highly recommend LOVING if you like a good love story and civil rights drama that's cinematic. Which reminds me. I still need to see Jeff Nichols' other 2016 film MIDNIGHT SPECIAL!