It’s tough looking ahead in the modern day and imagining institutionalised injustice being eradicated, but with the release of Loving earlier in 2017 we had a strong reminder that things can change for the better. Based on the true story of Mildred and Richard Loving, whose decision to live a married life in a state that prohibited interracial matrimony went on to become a landmark civil rights case, it’s an epic story of perseverance in the face of state funded adversity. Not a state in the middle east, or in the hinterlands of the Ural mountains, but in the US and only fifty years ago.
Fast forward to today and while the severity of racial injustice isn’t quite as ridiculous as to have laws prohibiting marriage, there are still issues in the United States, much as there are in UK. If that isn’t enough, there’s industrialised State-run snooping (which you can see in the film biopic, Snowden) and race riots in the US, the Arctic had its hottest winter on record and we’ve had the heartache of Aleppo, under attack from its own government supported by a shock and awe copycat escapade from Russia. There’s plenty still to stick up for and this critically acclaimed flick shows that sometimes things can be turned around, even if it is little by little.
Loving had a UK release date on Friday the 3rd February 2017, following on from its arrival in cinemas in the US on the 4th November 2016. It premiered at Cannes Film Festival as part of the 2016 Official Selection, competing for the Palme d’Or, which went to Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake. It picked up a lot of positive reviews in the States when it was released, but with industry and state exposé, Gold, out on the same weekend in the UK, it had a little competition for the serious cinema crown.
DVD, Blu-ray and digital download:
The DVD will be out on the 12th June 2017 and it’ll also be available on Blu-ray and digital download rental on the same date. You can already buy it digitally on iTunes.
The plot should have been the simple story of Mildred and Richard Loving, who get married, have kids and live a happy and peaceful life in. While that wouldn’t have been such an impressive film, it would have been much more righteous than the hick intervention that they faced. However, things didn’t go down the way they should have done, and their marriage was deemed invalid by the state.
Facing invasive police harassment and a jail sentence for violating Virginia’s anti-miscegenation statute, part of the Racial Integrity Act of 1924, which outlawed interracial marriage, the newlyweds had a pretty rocky start that went on to dominate their lives for nearly a decade.
Loving has been given an age rating in the UK of 12A by the British Board Of Film Classification with infrequent racist language.
DVD and Blu-ray covers:
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Joel Edgerton (The Great Gatsby, Black Mass, Midnight Special) continues his march of strong performances as Richard Loving, and Ruth Negga (Fury, World War Z, Twelve Years A Slave) stars as his wife Mildred. They’re joined by Marton Csokas as arresting Sherriff Brooks, Nick Croll as their attorney, Bernie Cohen, and Michael Shannon (Take Shelter, Midnight Special) plays Life magazine photographer, Grey Villet.
Terry Abney has been cast as Garnet Jeter, Alano Miller plays Raymond Green and Jon Bass is Phil Hirschkop.
Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter, Midnight Special) wrote and directed the film, picking up with both Edgerton and Shannon, who he’s worked with previously. Ged Doherty, Colin Firth, Nancy Buirski, Sarah Green, Marc Turtletaub and Peter Saraf produced, David Wingo created the music and Adam Stone was the director of photography.
For anyone that knows the word invidious – “(of an action or situation) likely to arouse or incur resentment or anger in others” – you’ll know its specific and insightful meaning is all too often forgotten today. When something happens that’s wrong, it isn’t just the fact that it is wrong that is a cause for concern, it’s that it will also lead on to more discord in the future. The story of Mildred and Richard in Loving (2016) shows a very positive response to resentment, which is as beautiful and irrepressible as it is sad that it was needed in the first place. However, there are many more examples of invidious ramifications that don’t have a letter-writing, dissatisfied couple on the receiving end.
This is a film that appears to go beyond the confines of its large and important focal point on racial equality and with a great cast and Jeff Nichols in the director’s chair it’s easy to see why it picked up so much critical acclaim following it’s Cannes premier and US release date. You can watch the trailer below to see how well Nichols has crafted the film, taking his skill of making big stories out of the lives of everyday people in new directions following his success with Take Shelter and Midnight Special.