Loving12 Nov 2016
I saw Loving only a few days after the election of Donald Trump. So the over-bearing political news cycle colored my viewing of the film (hell, it is coloring my view of the world) more than I would like. But in a political season marked by unease, hyperbole and despair, this film was a welcomed reprieve.
Nichols (who couldn’t help but give Michael Shannon at least a little bit of screen time) chose to dramatize this story with little dialog. With its muted tones, quiet action and focus on the two main characters, the politics of this film were brought into focus. The story of Richard and Mildred Loving is not one of heroes, stances, or protests. But one of normalcy, a desire to focus on family, and dignity in the face of adversity. The patience this family displayed in its years-long journey through the legal system is something progressives should take seriously.
This isn’t among my favorite of Nichols’ work (Take Shelter still reigns supreme for me), partially because the pacing is so stayed it sometimes congeals and lacks forward momentum. But a few moments, largely because of Ruth Negga’s performance, and the overall story and message are worth the price of admission.