Most people today believe love knows no color, but that wasn’t always the case. There were times when men and women of different races were not allowed to live as husband and wife. As late as the 1960’s many states had laws prohibiting just such a thing from happening. That started to change when Richard Loving (Joel Edgerton) met Mildred Loving (Ruth Negga) and the two fell in love. Like most couples, the Lovings took their relationship to the next step and got married, something the state of Virginia didn’t look too kindly on.
The couple was arrested and later, to avoid jail time pleaded guilty and agreed to leave Virginia and not come back for twenty-five years. Richard and Mildred moved to Washington D.C. and started a family, by having three kids. Mildred though did not like raising their children in the city and longed to be back home. The Loving family settles in and lives their life, but that changes when Mildred writes a letter to Robert Kennedy, who then gets the ACLU involved. It is that decision that helps their case make it to the Supreme Court.
Reading about Richard and Mildred, you could tell they wanted none of this. All they wanted was to be left alone and for them to be able to raise their family. Instead they became one of the important figures in American Civil Rights History. Writer and Director Jeff Nichols (Midnight Special) was asked to tell the story, and he used 2012’s The “The Loving Story”, a documentary as source material. Nichols tells the story through the eyes of Richard and Mildred, while letting the seasons tell the passage of time. Edgerton and Negga are commanding in their subtle ways, as there is little said between the two. While words might be lacking, love is not, as the feeling is conveyed by their actions.
Nichols knew nothing of the story before agreeing to write and direct it and urged people to learn it, either by his film, or whatever way worked best for them. This is a wonderful way to experience this story, as you see the it through the only eyes that mattered. Loving” is a story not only about history but also about what we will do for love.