Finally released on these shores after multiple delays, this Oscar-contender further solidifies Jeff Nichols as one of American cinema’s most versatile and valued auteurs. In telling the story of the married couple at the centre of the 1967 US civil rights case ‘Loving versus Virginia’, the filmmaker has mercifully dodged all based-on-a-true-story expectations by avoiding the tired courtroom drama tropes. Instead, Nichols is interested in telling a human story compassionately and focuses on the plaintiffs, their everyday struggles with casual racism, and the small steps that preceded the Supreme Court ruling which abolished laws banning interracial marriage. Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga are superbly cast as Richard and Mildred Loving, a devoted couple who stand up to the system in order to be called man and wife. Negga in particular shines and assures that this quietly stirring story, while structurally straightforward, always feels emotionally engaging and low on cheap melodrama.
Loving | Directed by Jeff Nichols (US 2016) with Joel Edgerton, Ruth Negga, Michael Shannon. Starts June 15.
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