Directed By: Jeff Nichols

Starring: Joel Edgerton, Ruth Negga, Nick Kroll, Michael Shannon, and Marton Csokas

"I miss him.  He took care of me."
-Mildred Jeter Loving

With Donald Trump busy building his Injustice League of racists, sexists, and other deplorables that will comprise his cabinet, I was in need of a reminder that two million people more said no to the politics of hate than those who foolishly said yes.  Loving presented that very opportunity.  The film centers on the developments leading up to the 1967 Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia.  Sitting in a theater in the state of Virginia with a predominantly white audience watching a movie that highlights the atrocious laws prohibiting interracial marriage and seeing these people embrace the film is somewhat reaffirming.  I'll be the first to admit that this perspective puts me in my own little liberal bubble.  If it's a bubble without the basket of deplorables, however, I'll drink to that.

Richard Loving (Joel Edgerton) pretty plainly loves Mildred Jeter (Ruth Negga) and wants her to be his wife.  Even if she is bearing his child, there's just one problem.  Richard is white, and Mildred is black.  In the state of Virginia, especially Caroline County, any union between persons of different races is outlawed.  This doesn't stop Richard, however.  He takes Mildred to DC where they are married and then returns to Caroline County.  The marriage license they bring back to Virginia with them doesn't mean a thing to Sheriff Brooks (Marton Csokas) or Judge Brazile (David Jensen).  As their legal entanglements become increasingly complicated, the newlyweds are banned from the state of Virginia for a period of 25 years.  After moving to DC and building a family there, Mildred wants to go back home.  She enlists the services of civil rights attorney Bernie Cohen (Nick Kroll).  The rest is history.

On Election Day, the state of Virginia had me worried.  As Hillary Clinton's blue wall came crumbling down in the Midwest, the purple state was flickering quite a bit.  Loving doesn't suffer that same fate.  It doesn't flicker.  It doesn't falter.  It just takes us on this very intimate journey of two quiet American heroes who fought for one of the most precious things in this world — love.  As the film unfolds, it's also a stark reminder that this wasn't that long ago.  The case was settled some 49 years ago in 1967.  Politically relevant, historically significant, and emotionally resonant, Jeff Nichols's Loving is one impressive piece of cinema.  It does have a few lulls, but it is nonetheless impressive on the whole.

Our two leads prove that opposites attract, and I'm not just talking about the racial differences that drive the film.  For her part as Mildred Jeter Loving, Ruth Negga is a fighter.  She knows what she wants and is not afraid to make that clear.  Negga gives Mrs. Loving a grit and a strength that help her to embrace the fight to love whomever she wants wherever she wants.  On the other hand, Joel Edgerton gives us an unmistakable introvert in his quiet performance as Richard Loving.  Immersed in racism because of the woman he chooses to love, Edgerton's Mr. Loving sees the fight that lies ahead and prefers to peacefully live his life and take care of his family instead.  These two characters are so intimately juxtaposed throughout the film that these stark differences in their points of view and how they impact Negga and Edgerton’s performances are crystal clear throughout the film.

Between Loving and Arrival, it's pretty clear that Hollywood thought America would need a shower after the election.  I agree but would argue for something more strenuous, something a lot stronger.  As it stands, Loving gets a strong 0.06% rating.  Have a few glasses of Chardonnay with this one.