Continuing the trend of the Oscar season out this week in cinemas is Loving, the incredible true story of Richard (Joel Edgerton) and Mildred Loving (Ruth Negga) who fell in love and got married in 1950’s America. Unfortunately, their marriage faced a terrible obstacle with the law in Virginia stating that interracial marriages were illegal in the state of Virgina. They faced jail time all because Richard was white and Mildred was black and the only way they could combat this was to leave Virgina for 25 years.
With this injustice and disruption to their lives, Mildred writes a letter to Robert F. Kennedy for help. Mr Kennedy actually helped and referred the Lovings to a lawyer that could assist them with their case. The final hurdle? They would need to win a court battle in the Supreme Court.
Loving is a moving film, and Jeff Nichols and his cast weave a touching and understated cinematic experience. The two most notable performances from Loving come from its leads. Edgerton and Negga have an unbelievable chemistry, it is magic simple as that. Their scenes together are so enchanting and their love is captivating. The performances of Edgerton and Negga are easily the best aspect of Loving. Negga is charismatic and well deserving of her Oscar nomination, but I found Edgerton to be all the more fascinating. Richard is a man who doesn’t wish to rock the boat, he doesn’t want to change history, he simply wants to love the woman he loves. It’s an arresting performance that isn’t seen often.
The supporting cast members, for the most part, are also great, from Mildred’s family to Richard’s there are a lot of wonderfully human moments throughout Loving. One particular cast member a presence to Loving that will stay with me for a long time and that is Marton Csokas. He plays Sheriff Brooks a man who is a product of the times he lives in and his scenes and his presence is equal parts unnerving and engrossing. Seeing how someone could feel the way he feels about such heinous acts is terrifying.
Unfortunately, not everyone brings the script and story as well as these actors. Nick Kroll and Jon Bass are in Loving as the lawyers that represent Richard and Mildred and they feel so out of place compared to the rest of the cast. Neither give convincing performances and come off far too comedic to deal with such a serious subject matter that Loving is about.
In addition to these miscasts, the film drags in sections where it tries to set up more of a connection between the characters. This is ultimately unnecessary as the cast has already established their relationships early in the film. This sadly lessens the emotional impact of the story and the overall film as a whole.
Loving is a wonderful film, filled with heartwarming performances and a touching narrative, sadly it loses focus at times and there are pacing issues that rear their ugly heads that drop the overall quality of the film. Nevertheless, it is still a memorable movie-going experience that you should check out.