"Love Conquers Injustice"
What You Need To Know:
LOVING has a beautiful, understated tone with strong performances from the leads, Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga. Writer/Director Jeff Nichols continues an impressive string of character-driven movies set in rural America. He takes a complex historic subject and renders it well with a strongly human, emotional touch. LOVING has a strong moral worldview showing love overcoming injustice. Although LOVING has no foul language, MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for older children because of the movie’s mature themes. Those mature themes include Mildred’s unmarried pregnancy and the movie’s depiction of racial prejudice. Happily, LOVING avoids using hyperbolic leftist rhetoric and stereotypes.
(BB, Pa, FR, V, S, A, M) Moral worldview promoting love, family and justice over racism, but some immoral Romantic, pagan elements such as when black woman has an unwed pregnancy at 18 with her white boyfriend, who was 24, and characters misuse the Bible and religion, but movie seems to make it clear they are misusing the Bible and religion to support hate; no foul language, but there are a couple hateful speeches directed at an interracial couple who get married; sheriffs bust into married couple’s home and arrest them in a scary fashion, then imply they will stick a huge man into the pregnant wife’s cell, making her fear she will be attacked; no sex scenes, but unmarried woman gets pregnant and some kissing; no nudity; two party scenes with alcohol being consumed; no smoking or drugs; and, racism but rebuked, two scenes of bets being placed on drag racing, judges falsely quote the Bible, and judge says God made different races and put them on different continents, so different races should not mix.
LOVING is the true story of Richard and Mildred Loving, a white man and black woman who became the couple who challenged the U.S. laws against interracial marriage and won in the Supreme Court in the 1960s. LOVING has an understated tone and a moral worldview, with light Romantic, pagan elements, some political correctness and mature themes that warrant caution for older children.
The movie takes place first in the late 1950s, when the young interracial couple Mildred (Ruth Negga) and Richard Loving (Joel Edgerton) decide to get married when they find out Mildred, who is 18, is pregnant. They go to Washington DC because their home state of Virginia won’t allow interracial marriage, but when they return, the local sheriffs bust into their home at night and arrest them for violating state law. The couple are then subjected to racist speeches by the police, but these are delivered in powerfully subtle rather than over the top fashion.
Their local lawyer can only get them the right to move away as soon as possible, or split up, as a means of avoiding prison time. However, when they return months later in order to have the baby delivered by Richard’s midwife mother, they are caught again. This time they’re told if they don’t move permanently or divorce, they will be thrown in prison for 25 years.
Ruth writes to then-Attorney General Robert Kennedy for help in their case. He sends them a young ACLU lawyer named Bernie Cohen (Nick Kroll) to help. Thus begins a series of maneuvers that takes years to resolve.
LOVING has a beautiful, understated tone with strong performances from the leads, Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga. They are even more impressive playing American Southerners considering that Negga is actually Irish Ethiopian and Edgerton is Australian. Edgerton in particular is a marvel, changing his look tremendously without apparent makeup through the way he walks, talks and has his head shaved. He fits the look of the real Richard Loving, as evidenced in a photo before the end credits, and it’s a striking transformation from his normal looks. As the lawyer, Nick Kroll, who normally is a prime comedian who immerses himself in heavy makeup to play outrageous characters, is a marvel here, in a largely dramatic role that nonetheless gives the movie its rare light touches of humor.
The only possible controversial moments come when the ACLU lawyer and his colleague briefly discuss lower court judges ruling against the couple by citing religion as their reason. However, the movie makes it clear the judges are misusing religion to support hate. In opposing the Virginia law and the court rulings, Richard notes that he loves his wife and thinks it’s just unfair and unjust he can’t live with her in Virginia.
Writer/Director Jeff Nichols (MUD, MIDNIGHT SPECIAL) continues an impressive string of character-driven films set in rural America. He takes a complex historic subject and renders it well with a strongly human, emotional touch. The result is a movie in which simple, unpretentious people prove that love conquers all. Also, the couple has four children during the movie’s story, which gives LOVING a strong pro-family angle.
Although LOVING has no foul language, MOVIEGUIDE® advises strong caution for older children due to some mature themes, such as the story’s unwed pregnancy and the bad arguments and racism from the characters opposing Richard and Mildred Loving’s marriage. The issue of same-sex marriage doesn’t come up in this movie, though the Loving case has been wrongly used to justify such a perversion of God’s Law. Happily, LOVING, the movie, avoids using hyperbolic leftist rhetoric and stereotypes.