Virginia Is for Lovers – Loving (2016)

How many people still view the South.  So this is about an interracial couple (Joel Edgerton, Ruth Negga), struggling to stay together in the 1960’s in the Commonwealth of Virginia due to the law of the land.  This was the only major Oscar nomination I missed (best actress for Ruth Negga), so I didn’t really have a choice other than to check this out after the fact once it hit home market.  This is a well made movie, so I am glad that I took the time to check this out.  That said, it is not going to make me make any edits to my best of 2016 list.

1I could tell pretty early on that this was never going to be *that* movie for me.

There is one item that I would like to praise this movie for big time in that this is a very subdued story.  Hollywood has the tendency to make these stories far more sensationalized than they actually were for the big screen, and that’s how we wind up getting movies like The Help.  With this, I feel that they do the story justice, because it is a much quieter movie that you are probably expecting.  For example, you would expect this story to have a lot more open racism in it so as to pump up the dramatization.  You don’t really get that.  The racism is there, sure, but it is mostly in the background with disapproving looks as opposed to slur filled confrontations.  It’s something that I very much appreciated, just because it is so easy to go the other direction with it.  That said, it is a double edge sword, because it makes for a slower paced film that doesn’t feel all that riveting, all things considered.

2With the last name of Loving, it seems almost like fate to have such a controversial relationship.

Both of the performances from the leads are quality, and there is subtle and tact at every moment when they are on screen.  Edgerton is an actor that I always enjoy seeing, and with the person that Richard Loving is, I got the distinct impression that he may have been autistic, which makes the story even more interesting (I’m not seeing any mention of that in my brief Google research that I’ve done, but all the signs are there in his performance).  I don’t think director Jeff Nichols has made a bad movie yet, and this is a solid addition to his library.

Loving (2016) ***1/2

– Critic for Hire


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