In the 1960s, ACLU attorneys take on a case where a white man (Joel Edgerton) and his African-American wife (Ruth Negga) are being harassed by the Virginia legal system. After a few movies with supernatural themes, director Jeff Nichols took on a story based in reality – which is not a stretch for him, considering his down-to-earth style. The portrait of the Lovings, a landmark case that went all the way to the Supreme Court, would perhaps have been more sentimental in someone else’s hands. Nichols finds the right tone and nicely captures the flavor of rural environs, as in his earlier films. Superior, low-key performances by the two leads.

2016-Britain-U.S. 123 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Colin Firth, Nancy Buirski, Ged Doherty, Sarah Green, Peter Saraf, Marc Turtletaub. Written and directed by Jeff Nichols. Cast: Joel Edgerton (Richard Loving), Ruth Negga (Mildred Loving), Marton Csokas (Garnett Brooks), Nick Kroll, Michael Shannon, Terri Abney.

Trivia: The story was also told in a TV movie, Mr. and Mrs. Loving (1996), but this film was largely inspired by a documentary, The Loving Story (2011).

Last word: “This was back in 2012, and ‘The Help’, which had been a huge success, was close in our rearview. I said, ‘I think this story can be very successful, but I’m probably not the one to make a mainstream version of this movie.’ I could see a courtroom drama out of this. I could see a civil rights film out of this. But I saw it as a very personal love story, and I wasn’t sure if that was going to be the most commercial way to go with it. I laid out my approach in terms of trying to stay with the Lovings as much as possible through the telling of the story.” (Nichols, Deadline)



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