Writer and Director Jeff Nichols, Joel Edgerton and Michael Shannon had worked together previously in Midnight Special, a movie with fantastic dramatic performances. It was good to see the trio team up again in this latest movie, Loving.
The main bugbear I had with Midnight Special was that the writing left a lot of vital aspects of the story was left unexplained, leading to a very questionable resulting movie. I have a similar view with Loving, in that the writing of the film was lacking something, not necessarily in an unexplained plot, but rather in that the telling of the story is very slow and isn’t very interesting.
Loving is a story about the civil rights decision of the supreme courts which invalidated laws preventing interracial marriage and ended all race-based legal restrictions on marriage in the United States. The story was told through Richard Loving (Joel Edgerton), a white man, and Mildred Loving (Ruth Negga), a “coloured” woman, the subjects of the court process who were arrested in Virginia for marrying in another state. A tip off led the police to arresting the couple following a raid in their house at night. Following the arrest, the Lovings were assigned attorneys through the American Civil Liberties Union who took the case to the Supreme Court. Michael Shannon played a Life magazine photographer who spent time with the couple and bought their case to the attention of the media.
I said this is a slow movie. I don’t have anything against slow movies, very often they lead to a grand finale or a crescendo of some description which makes the whole movie come together, however this was missing in Loving. The crescendo in this case is the result of the Supreme Court case, but the end of the movie felt very mellow, missing that dramatic spark. The main moments within the movie, such as the hearing at the Supreme Court, was summarised with a montage of artistic shots and a some words spoken by the attorneys, but I felt that this scene could have held a much larger weight in the movie and could have possibly given more detail into the arguments in the case on both sides, something that was only covered briefly. This was the case throughout the movie, the peaks and troughs of the movie were very flat, never actually resulting in a considerbly shocking or tense moment.
The likeness of the characters to images shown before the credits at the end of the movie are spot on and the acting by all, particularly Ruth Negga was exceptional; the cinematography also provided beautiful shots of the remote Virginia countryside and the contrasting city environment of Washington DC.
The disappointment was the story telling and the amount of focus that was set to each aspect of the movie, resulting in the absence of a “crescendo”, leading to a relatively uninteresting movie as a whole.