Loving, film: ‘Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga are the whole film’
- Credit: Archant
Jeff Nichols’ true life story focuses on the little things in life and is as understated as its protagonists
Richard Loving is not an expressive man. Most of the time he looks like he’s cogitating on an imminent spit. He squints out at the world like it’s a Sudoku puzzle, and nobody ain’t never told him about Sudoku.
He’s a level land hillbilly, a social progressive redneck who, by deciding to marry a black girl, Mildred (Ruth Negga) when the state of Virginia still had laws about that kind of thing, sets in motion a string of events that would go all the way to the Supreme Court.
Mildred takes some active interest in it but he remains largely unconcerned. He gets on with his business and leaves history to swirl around them.
The film is as understated as its protagonist. Anyone put off this because they can’t face another grandstanding civil rights drama with rednecks and big dramatic speeches should be assured that Loving is something much less, but way better, than that.
You may also want to watch:
Jeff Nichols’ version of this true life story focuses on the little things in life and allows the big things to just get on with themselves, largely off stage. Really Joel Edgerton and Negga are the whole film, and they are more than enough.
Richard doesn’t say anything more than is strictly necessary and the film is similarly tight lipped, sometimes frustratingly so.
- 1 Man jailed for rape of young girl in north London 40 years ago
- 2 Helen Anderson: Finsbury Park murder victim's father pays tribute to his daughter
- 3 Disused Holloway garages converted into garment-making workspace
- 4 Man killed in 'shooting' in north London
- 5 Mem and Laz Brasserie voted as readers' favourite restaurant
- 6 Home of the metre-long pizza opens in Finsbury Park
- 7 Police looking to speak to man in connection with sexual assault
- 8 Prince Edward visits youth centre in Islington
- 9 Appeal to find four children missing from north London with father and grandmother
- 10 Sadiq Khan urged to denounce £1.2bn Edmonton incinerator
When the pair get thrown in jail he is bailed out soon but she has to spend the weekend in jail. We never find out who bails him out and why none of her family come down to bail her out.
Similarly, a few dates and times wouldn’t go amiss. Some explanations too. After their arrest they are sentenced to leave Virginia for 25 years but they flout that ruling and do so while conducting a high profile legal challenge, and inviting a Life magazine photographer (Michael Shannon, no Nichols film is complete without him) to their Virginia home.
Still, the up side of not saying much is that when words do pass your lips, they have real force. When asked what he would say to the Supreme Court, Richard’s response, “I love my wife,” is quietly devastating. Taciturn dignity is a hell of quality to have.
Halfmanhalfcritic.weebly.com; Peckinpah and De Palma blu-rays, Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia and Raising Cain.
Rating: 4/5 stars