review by Bobby Blakey
In my opinion one of the hardest types of films to watch are that involving racial tension. Despite being in a world that still deals with so much hate it still makes me cringe to see the things that people of color have had to endure then and now. When I saw the trailer for Jeff Nichols new film Loving I knew this was going to be an important film that needed to be seen. With a great cast including Joel Edgerton, Ruth Negga, Will Dalton, Marton Csokas, and Nick Kroll could this film offer do this important moment in history justice or will it fail to showcase the love it needed to?
Loving follows the story of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple, whose challenge of their anti-miscegenation arrest for their marriage in Virginia led to a legal battle that would end at the US Supreme Court. Let me start by saying that this is a really good movie that tells a story that is important, but I was a bit let down by the overall impact of it. Without knowing the details of these peoples story or the case, the trailer gave me way more depth than the actual film did. There was something disjointed about the overall film that never fully gave me anything to really latch onto. I was all in for the story, but the impact I was expecting was just not there. I don’t want this to come off the wrong way because the impact of what these two people went through and accomplished was so important, but it just never delivered that power in the film. Maybe it was because it had so much time to cover that it was never able to fully commit to any one moment during their struggle, but every time things felt like they were getting heavy it shifted focus and moved on.
The performances were excellent across the board with both Negga and Edgerton having great chemistry together. Ruth Negga brought a great power to the role that came off both physically and emotionally. Edgerton was so good bringing the strength behind his character that struggles with not always understanding what is going on and his only focus is being with the woman he loves no matter what. The side of the story I really did love seeing is the embrace of her family and community that embraced him despite being white throughout everything, but still seeing the frustrations and unintentional blame he gets put on him at times. This showcased something in film we don’t get a lot of and that is acceptance and the lack of having to have someone on the same side of the struggle having to go against them.
This is one of those films that will obviously impact everyone differently and there is no denying that it is an excellent film. Maybe my perception was more the problem than the film itself. When you see these stories you expect some truly horrific racism thrown about like it is nothing to give it the full effect, but here they just let the film itself tell the story and focused more on their love and the effects it had on the laws instead of the hatred that is usually front and center. Decide for yourself and see this film as it is one that needs to be seen by all if for no other reason for the importance of what it is about.
In addition to the film this release includes commentary and featurettes taking you behind the film and life of Richard and Mildred. Grab your copy of Loving available now on Blu-ray and DVD from Universal Home Entertainment.