Historical film examines interracial marriage
By Collin Berend
“Loving” is a movie, based on the name of the family involved in the Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia, that is inspiring on all fronts and bursts through the cinema doors unlike any historical romance drama before it.
Students who attended the Associated Collegiate Press Conference in Washington, D.C., had a chance to view a sneak preview of the film.
Set in the late 1950s in Virginia, Richard (Joel Edgerton) and Mildred (Ruth Negga) Loving face uncertain discrimination. Richard, who is a blue-collar working white man, and Mildred, a stay at home black woman, find themselves tossed in a jail cell after getting married in D.C., unsure what is to come, unable to see each other, not in the same cell, not even able to bail one another out. Their crime? Love.
A love so criminal, they are given the choice by the judge, thanks to the help of their attorney, to either leave the state of Virginia or go to prison for a year. Not wanting to take a chance in jail and after Richard learns that his wife is pregnant, they seek home in D.C.
Jeff Nichols, the director of the movie, whose work extends to “Midnight Special” and “Mud,” creates a splendid film that captures the historical events and the undeniable love between Richard and Mildred Loving, who are also parents trying to protect their kin. Nichols paints a brilliant picture that shows how interracial marriage was an aberration not too long ago in an era in which dogmatic views were pushed onto others and into law: whites with whites and blacks with blacks. The two shall never meet.
One of the beauties of the film is how it correlates to modern day with the LGBT having fought hard for same-sex marriage.
In the Loving v. Virginia case, the Supreme Court ruled that “freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.” This was, of course, under the Earl Warren court led by arguably the most liberal and progressive judge to date. This law has been affirmed in other cases, and this very phrase was used by supporters to promote same-sex marriage in 2015.
Artistically, the music, conducted by David Wingo, who has worked with Nichols prior on “Midnight Special,” casts wonderfully on each scene. Every take has its own magical uniqueness that stands out. From the moments where we focus on Richard when he is placing bricks down, in contrast with scenes of him when he is in jail, or the change of the rhythm that we get when the focus is on Mildred; we’re introduced to a broad selection of musical creativity to help build the story and create a loving emotional atmosphere.
“Loving” is a movie for any age. It brings to light the historical context through the eyes of those who had to endure interracial discrimination. You’ll find that even this serious movie has many hilarious moments, thanks to cast members like Nick Kroll, playing lawyer Bernard Cohen, who’s been in movies and shows like “Sausage Party,” “Get Him to the Greek,” and “Dinner for Schmucks.”
Not a single actor narrowly played their character, rather each one seems immersed and you almost feel like you’re looking at the real people of the story, except for Nick Krull who will just make you laugh when you see him.
I enjoyed the film in almost every aspect and would highly recommend it to anyone. You can see “Loving” in theaters starting Nov. 4.