MARIA DUARTE recommends the inspiring story of a couple who defied racist marriage laws
Loving (12A) Directed by Jeff Nichols 4/5
RICHARD and Mildred Loving just wanted to be married and able to raise a family.
Their fight for that right resulted in the landmark US Supreme Court ruling in 1967 which made it possible for other interracial couples to be legally wed across the US.
The court stated that marriage is an inherent right and made its prohibition based on race unconstitutional.
The simplicity of the Lovings’ beautiful love story is the heart and soul of this subtle and low-key, exquisitely shot drama written and directed by Jeff Nichols (Mud and Take Shelter).
Richard, who was white, and Mildred — part African-American, part Native American — were an ordinary, unassuming couple who were reluctantly forced into the limelight to battle for their right to live lawfully together.
Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga, who has been nominated for an Oscar for her portrayal as Mildred, are superb as the pair.
The film shows how in 1958 Richard and a pregnant Mildred were married in Washington DC because it was illegal in their home state of Virginia.
After returning home, they were arrested and charged with violating Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act. They were advised to plead guilty and were sentenced to a year in jail, suspended if they left the county and didn’t return within 25 years.
They moved in with Mildred’s cousin in Washington where they had three children and it wasn’t until 1963 that they sought legal aid.
A flaw in the film is that it doesn’t provide a sense of the constant fear and tension the Lovings must have been living under, particularly when they returned in secrecy to Virginia with their kids.
Yet it is a poignant celebration of their real-life courage, fortitude and commitment.
And, at a time when Americans are fighting to stop their civil rights being eroded, the Lovings’ inspirational story is as relevant now as it was back in the 1960s.
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